“I acknowledge my status as a stranger:
I found it in the wash, the orange
shell I picked up on the beach
that last time. One of my girls—
the one named after you—
must have found it in my room
and wanted it. Clean calcareous
curve, a palm open to nothing,
reeking of sunshine
and your death. For years
I didn’t know what to do with it.
You would have liked
this story: how a child
slips grief into a careless pocket.
Breaks it to pieces. Lets it go.”
– Harriet Brown, “Shell”