Once a shell nested here cupped in the sand,
the soft flesh inside offering itself to the sea,
a sea that submerged it and then retreated.
As waters receded, the shell
burrowed in the wet sand.
Then, like a great tidal wave, an uplift
rocked the earth and the shell rose with it,
uprooted on a windswept mesa.
Today, a thousand miles away,
waves conceive the winds that sweep
the landlocked mesa
where, like a scavenger,
I sort through broken sandstone and rock
and carry home the sea,
windswept and marooned,
in a fossil.