The Reef by Elizabeth Ayres

We call to them but they do not hear us, adrift forever
in the somnolent tides of that lofty black river.

                Some among us believe
they are free-swimming larvae, and tell their children, “This
year, to this reef, the travelers will come home.” Others think

they are pearls, and mourn the fate of those
who toiled ceaselessly yet passed without witnessing
the glory wrought from their pain. Still others hold

we were created in their image; are meant
to join them when we die, meant to shine.

                I share

the opinion of the few: we abide her
and there simultaneously, as firmly fixed to that reef
as to this; and

        the voice with which we call to them is
their voice, timelessly given, perpetually shared; and

        if they seem not to hear, it’s because

gazing at us they see

                not oysters, only stars.

About Elizabeth Ayres

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