They held it high above their heads,
hoisted their prickly trophy up,
mouths open in triumph.
It was bigger than my hand,
bigger than your hand,
big as a giant’s hand.

Throw it back! I yelled,
squinted into the salty air,
felt the humidity curl my hair
as I shaded my eyes from the
brightness that bounced off the sea.

They tossed it away,
mad they’d shown me,
mad I’d made them leave it.

You swam out after the kids left,
drug it to shore.
I traced my water-puckered fingers
over its rough surface,
amazed it was a living creature.

I’m going to keep it, you said.
I argued but you wouldn’t listen
you wanted this treasure from the sea,
a permanent reminder of the months
we spent arguing in the salty air.

You soaked it in bleach,
killing it and weakening its
once-hard structure.
It crumbled in your hands when
you pulled it out.

I looked away.





Courtney BirstCourtney Birst believes wine, coffee, and poetry are key ingredients in life, though she’s always tinkering with the recipe. Her poetry is published or is forthcoming in Connections, Welter, Plum Biscuit, Pudding Magazine, and NoVa Bards Anthology. Read her blog at, follow her on Twitter:, or find her on Facebook:

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