The sky clears like a good idea for a few blue hours
sprung between industrial grays; it lures me out
for a walk, unfurled and pumping, loose beyond
my neighborhood. A child is taking advantage of
the weather of expansion. He kneels on patchy lawn,
kid businesslike, a box of wares and quick for sale sign.
I shove my mid-March hands into my pockets.

One day Saint Augustine paced the seashore, arguing
the Trinity with himself. He came upon a boy who
dug up sand, filling his shell with water to displace
the ocean, then dug deeper. The serious bishop joked,
The sea won’t fit in there. Beatific in the grit of his task,
the boy replied, The Trinity won’t fit in your debate. What
disappeared—poof!—was a habit of thought, coin of the realm.

Here, the blond boy spreads his shells on the pavement.
With fingertips milky and black he lines dandelions atop
the box according to size and wilt. He saw me coming.
Flower prices range; shells each cost a quarter. Firm.
Steep, I say, choosing a chipped convolution.
What’s this one called? He’s smug, It’s called white.
Poof! I give him his quarter.

The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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