Nautilus | Free Spirit Volume 2014 Issue 3

From far across
the wave-washed sand
a whisper reaches, turns my head.
Pale satin-throated Nautilus
sighs at tide’s escaping edge,
“You are like me …”
dies in my hand.

How like Nautilus?
Because I speak, retreat,
keep full opinion to myself’?
Ah, yes… I see what she means.

Wedged in the tiny chambers
of my reason, my thin life
confined by the narrow spiral
curling ever in on itself,
echoing only as much ocean
as I can hear.

But round and round
my Essence swirls past polished walls,
surges over vast flat beaches,
washing back, rebuilding yet another
urgent, glistening wave.

I poke at the rubble left behind,
turn familiar stones over in my hand,
revisit weight and density,
hope for signs of life among
tangled ribbons of kelp,
any movement… change.

Always the wind
constant from the south,
remodeling the pliant sand,
humbling the grasses,
lifting the prayerful cry of gulls,
nudging me onward.

Someday, when I have walked
around the world enough times,
when my feet begin to remember
the same weary indentations…
Someday, when at last I am wise
and do not need to wear the grooves
of my life quite so deeply…

Perhaps then the wind will shift,
fill my soul like a sail
and push me far off course
toward lands of silk and spice!

—— Teryl “T” Johansson
October, 1996