Shells I picked out of the sand
as the sunlight licked my skin
in a foreign tongue
once on each cheek,
are now gathering dust
on the top shelf of my dresser,
above rows and rows of
worn out boots,
unused sneakers,
sandals longing for socks,
repulsive crocs,
just as dusty as the shells,
because the only pair I wear is by the door,
strewn about,
sole separating from shoe,
begging to be forgotten for an afternoon,
having sacrificed itself for the pleasures of a morning,
and the pain of the night,
tracked sand all through the house,
through every hallway,
until I stumbled to the dresser,
to lay down the shells in sight,
and protected my toes from the tiny grains
that are still big enough to inconvenience me,
rather than be a broken reminder of
what they have taken from me,
a beach under the sun,
a place I’m still running from,
the only proof
that I have lived at all.