Living the dark 
days of the future, the architect angled 
              for sky—a mocked-
up chapel, a spire’s 
              prismed spike: all those tiny 
severed rooms. Spring again’s a wash 
              of egg casings, like chains of blonde seaweed 
tangled ashore: here a serifed spine, there 
a sundered arm. Tattered 
              and toothy, all those braceletted 
blown pods, and the one 
              still shrouded—an infant stilled 

in its caul. A certain economy 
              to the dead, this minimal 
exertion to memory: dovecote 
              or necropolis, the face is a winged 
              veil, a bell cave secreting 
its cinerary urn, a blocked-letter name 
              stick-crossing the grained 
facade like an urchin’s 
              snapped spines, like shell fragments 
so aligned in sand as to appear 
              treasure, an outsized 

singularity. Distinctly 
              lightning, the sinistral shell; any 
whelk’s, the barbed 
marble crest, the nipple 
              of ossified air topping the false 
nautilus swirl any cathedral’s spiraling 
              staircase would have the eye 
              look up to through the marred heart 
of spin. To sketch 
              the shadowed steps, sun-spiked lashes 
halo the scepter, the shell’s mace 
              and drill, its mute 

nacreless ribs. The wall 
filling, all those put-out pearls 
              of window light; or vessels 
post storm, low tide’s finds late sun 
glisters, rending curtains 
              of ash to fire that perfect 
gathering: the whole drowned world 
salted over, sparking.