Grandfather’s Clams Carved in the Spring
He sculpted ducks with a bead of sand
castled in his thumbnail like DNA.
I would watch wings unfold purple for hours,
my suit worn white from salted boats
that cradled circles in ballet dunes to whisper
recipes into my mother’s throat. Hollowed
shells became cups for her penciled revisions
on last year’s lasagna. I ran
corners through tousled-blonde
down: catalogued towels by who used them
first. Grandpa’s: white with a lighthouse
nestled on the corner & birds: a lookout
for stray drops of cocktail sauce missed by thick
clam tongues. Shellfish caught by chiseled necks
of swans on a workbench are marked February
for snow. Wood shavings fell like parmesan
on littlenecks to feed summer’s cousins:
names whittled into lungs exhale chlorinated
games of monopoly that lasted years.
But it’s okay. I remember you winning
me over with my own timber duck,
its eyes braised coal, lively & memorable
like a kitten chasing its tail.
Madeline Herrick is a senior at SUNY Geneseo, studying both English (Creative Writing) and Mathematics. She’s from Ballston Spa, New York and likes to travel as much as possible. She prefers coffee over tea, and she hopes that Mark Danielewski does as well.