The Drift Glass

by Cally Conan-Davies

Along the spit of shell-packed sand,
while combing for the green, the blue,
the rarer bits of washed-up glass,

I nearly didn’t bend to take
the common piece of bottle-brown;
but shapes embossed across its face

intrigued me, so I picked it up
and found ‘TO BE’—a fragment phrase.
I showed it to a fisherman

and asked him what it might have meant.
He rubbed the risen words, and said:
“A warning. ‘POISON’ once it read,

‘NOT TO BE TAKEN’”. But it was.
The ocean took what hand had tossed,
dulled its gleam with salt and sent

the hazard to be broken up
by tides, the edges blunted by
the run of water over it

and let it drift onto this spit
as if pronouncing from the sea
the curse, the cure, the cusp—to me.

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