We go out into the cold
and black of a new-moon night
climbing down slick boulders
to feel our way toward the sea,
three women seeking treasure.
We are blind except for the lamps
arrowing through curtains of fog
we make with our breath.
We follow instinct toward the water’s edge
which has receded so far
we cannot reach it.
The smell of her, though: brine
and blood, seaweed and salt
tells us Ocean is near. She
mirrors our own scent and soul
and we cannot steal from her
without stealing from ourselves.
We set our buckets down and begin to dig
standing on the spades to pierce
the skin of the earth: gravel meets us
then at last, water wells up like blood
and the treasure waits there.
Little glowing half-moons rise
to our questing fingers
most whole, but some broken open
showing pale flesh that glows
like dying pearls in the lamplight.
Forgive me, little ones.
I will give thanks as I eat
your brothers and sisters
your children, your mothers.
I will not take too many. I will not tell
where to find you.
Before leaving, we fill every hole
repairing the earth where we wounded her.
We give thanks.
Climbing up the rocks
we sing the clams to sleep in their buckets:
sirens in the night
making clouds with our breath.