He seeks
seashells on the seashore
and offers them to me
as if spelling
words not quite formed.

But I needn't cup
shells to my ear
to hear them speak.
Some are jagged
and seem to know
our fragile past;
others are still intact
like talismans
of better days ahead.

Right now,
we're a work in progress—
a bean clam he found
growing, salt-spun,
into its armored chrysalis.

He releases it
to the surf
for a second chance,
then takes my hand,
moving only three paces
before he stoops to collect
a coquina, its message clear
that even weathered things
can be strong again.