Poems by Roberta Feins

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Shell Mudra

by Roberta Feins

From Canary Winter 2012-13

Roberta Feins lives in Seattle in the Piper's Creek Watershed. From her writing desk she can see a forest of big-leaf maples and conifers, Puget Sound, and the Olympic Mountains.

Their names replay Homer:
Cyclops, Stentor, Nereis,
joined to the names of scientists:
jensenii, darwinii, hutchinsoniana.

Tide by tide, we wade deeper in a fetish of destruction,
Thanatos is in our crooked defended marrow.
With curved fingers, I trace their scalloped
ridges: cockles, clams, coquina.

Eternal, veiled and nacred,
their living flesh will die and die again
and on this tumbled beach, pile into heaps
and mounds, press slowly into continents.

Amphitrite, Cassandra, Megalops
will siren, long after their names are lost,
long after we slice open
the clenched muscle of our ferocious history.

Originally published in Switched-on Gutenberg, the poem is part of a larger work, "Hunger on Marco Island."

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