An Endangered Species

by Melissa Resch
About Poetry Forum
Honorable Mention, November 2008
Judged by Hélène Cardona and John Fitzgerald

Across the flats in Provincetown, Cape Cod
walking at sunrise in autumn
breathing in coolness of morning     low tide
like a bathtub draining empty
bubbles and crabs slinking
airborne gulls crying     loud and terse

This promising hour before coffee
prospectors laden with rakes and buckets
proceed over rocks and beach
ready to stake claim     a bit of sandbar as their own

Clammers are an endangered species
exteriors of calcified armor
too soft in the middle     just like
the clams they cherish and gather

Gashing at sand with tines of hard metal
eager for each clank of promise
fooled by broken shells     robbed of their innards
by one who came before

Buckets are filled inch by inch
heavy and ripe, lifted and lugged     the retreat begins
Briny ripples trickle in, cover and flood
this stretch of toiled, torn sand
chasing the diggers back to town     this wedge of land we call home
to study and share and shuck
bivalve bounty from an ocean garden