Pink Shell

Pamela Moore

while the pastor spoke Sunday words of grace

the ladies fanned themselves with

folded paper announcements and the men’s

arms and collars darkened wet in the heat

i looked across the aisle, and looking, saw

a child upon his mother’ s knees sleeping his head

sided against her floral breast in that place

made for the nesting of a child’s crown

then lifting he looked at her

and his ear radiant

a delicate rose or a warm

coral pearl of shell lying against the white sand

of his cheek

lightly he petted the skin along her neck

and spoke a language of their own unheeding

the reverend message

she hushed him with a bag of popcorn

crackling as he dipped his hand

and raised it to his mouth again, then again

while his ear

pink and velvet as a petal

faded into creamy white

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