I cannot leave the ossicles of starfish—
the skeleton breaching the skin. There is
something to be said for tessellation still,
for the sweep and retreat of salt water,
for the immaculate sharded hull. I cannot
desert the multitude of tube feet, their
slow soldiering across the sea bed.
As a child, I held legions in my palms,
turned them upside down to watch
them wave. I touched the madreporite,
thinking it a calcified eye. I cannot say
what pressure shifted beneath my finger.
If I once held something that could not
be regrown, it was in ignorance. And if
I miss the underbellied mouth, the chemical
grasp of a thousand vacillating embraces,
it is only because they retracted first.
The ocean is still there—I have seen it.
The mussels are bearded to every boulder
and clack against the tide. I would crack
them all for a return to the wonder
of an Atlantic grasp on my wrist, five
arms locked between my fingers.
Ruth Foley lives in Massachusetts, where she teaches English for Wheaton College. Her work appears in numerous web and print journals, including Antiphon, The Bellingham Review, The Louisville Review, and Nonbinary Review. Her chapbook Dear Turquoise is available from Dancing Girl Press. She serves as Managing Editor for Cider Press Review.