It's field trip day
and my classmates and I are eyeing the
estuary and its inhabitants.
Sticking proudly out of the mud
like a grounded mussel
is a gentle scrap
of some sea creature's

I steal it for myself―shove it in my
dirty sweatshirt pocket with
the other relics stolen that day.

Later, I will take it out
and rub my thumb
over the smooth inside surface
and its rough exterior,
savoring the texture.

Later, I will think how the
purple wampum lines
along its curve
make the shell look like
a shard of broken china
left by some frumpy

Later, I will imagine myself
as its real owner―
casually plucked out of the mud―
soared high, in the clouds, almost―
dropped and falling―
eaten by a seagull.

Then I will put it back in my pocket
and forget it.