by Scott Edward Anderson
Look at the two of them, bent
to the early morning tide.
Culling glass from the gritty surf.
Strange and wonderful alchemists,
who search for the elusive blue
of medicine bottles, caressing
emerald imitators from “Old Latrobe,”
or amber sea urchins
left there like whelks at low tide.
They discard broken bits of crockery,
forsaken jetsam of the sands.
Beach glass is opaque
with a false clarity:
Polished by sand and sea,
the edges don’t cut
like our lives, lived elsewhere,
out beyond the last sandbar,
where plate tectonics rule the waves.
PHOTO: “Sea Glass Heart” by Sue Feldberg. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “Gleanings” was written in Ocean Grove, New Jersey, and first appeared in an anthology called Under a Gull’s Wing: Poems and Photographs of the Jersey Shore and later in my book, Fallow Field. It was written for two good friends, Jim Supplee and Diane Stiglich, with whom I’d been vacationing “down the shore.” Diane and Jim loved collecting shells and beach glass from the beach and my poem began, quite literally, with the image of the two of them bent over scanning the sand and took off from there.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Scott Edward Anderson is the author of Fallow Field (Aldrich Press, 2013) and Walks in Nature’s Empire (The Countryman Press, 1995). He has been a Concordia Fellow at the Millay Colony for the Arts and received the Nebraska Review Award. His work has appeared in the American Poetry Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Cimarron Review, The Cortland Review, Many Mountains Moving, Nebraska Review, Pine Hills Review, Terrain, Yellow Chair Review, and The Incredible Sestina Anthology (Write Bloody, 2013), among other publications.
AUTHOR PHOTO: The author and his wife on Brighton Pier, Brighton, England, Summer 2014