Her fingers sifting low-slung surf snag

clam shell, white-thick, hard as bone.

Lifting shards she pictures parts

cut out of her, an ovary so impatient

to procreate that prior to any conception

it began to knit bits of baby teeth,

firm knots of skin, surprising kinks

of hair. The single child delivered

of the houseful she intended

nearly grown now, nearly gone,

she contemplates that cyst since

cast away, formless as an oyster

nursing chips of pearl. As the sea

laps languidly the backs of her knees,

she misses that not-born, thinks she yet

could love it without heartbeat, lungs,

without ten perfect shell-tipped toes.


A graduate of the College of William & Mary, Terry Hall Bodine works as the housing coordinator at University of Lynchburg. Recent publication credits include Roanoke Review, The Tishman Review, Scintilla, and Cathexis Northwest Press.