Ocean Grove, NJ
Look at the two of them, bent
to the early morning tide.
Culling glass from the gritty surf.
Strange and wonderful alchemists,
who search for the elusive blue
of medicine bottles, caressing
emerald imitators from “Old Latrobe,”
or amber sea urchins
left there like whelks at low tide.
They discard broken bits of crockery,
forsaken jetsam of the sands.
Beach glass is opaque
with a false clarity:
Polished by sand and sea,
the edges don’t cut
like our lives, lived elsewhere,
out beyond the last sandbar,
where plate tectonics rule the waves.
—Scott Edward Anderson, from Fallow Field
Used by permission of the poet. Aldrich Press, 2013