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39

thirty-nine
 
Two hundred white pelicans
whirling through the invisible air
wings stretched white with black tips
whirling, whirling, whirling
they seem to appear and disappear
                          in this invisible air.

When was the last time I saw your outstretched arms?
On a mudflat several acres wide
tiny air bubbles gurgle up, revealing
that hidden in the muck and mud
are thousands of mussels,
shells buried in the soft oozing silt.
In which shell is the pearl hidden?
Where do we begin to look?
Along the edge of the darkest wood,
in among the poison ivy vines and the stinging nettle leaves,
in the middle of the thickest brambles and sharpest thorns
are found the sweetest berries.
How many scratches will be endured
to get enough berries
for hot cobbler and cold ice cream?
Or is it the whirling, the appearing

                        and disappearing 
                                    we should relish?

Is it the mud oozing between our toes

            that holds the stuff pearls are made of?
Is it the chance to scratch and be scratched?
            Ou…yeah, right there,
            Ah…a little higher
                       Oh, 
                       yes,
                       yes,
                       yes!