Paris White
Clam Shells

I was gasping out sobs for ten minutes, and they returned after each exhausted pause in tide patterns. I lay in wait like a baby mollusk on the moonlit beach gravel, with a shell that shone translucent by the moon; cracks ran over the pearly fingernail surface like veins, light as clam skin. The next tide would have killed me, I'm sure, if not for the moon, which takes pity on small animals. She paused her orbit for my ego, washed up on a foreign shore, and stopped the tides. In one stellar instant, the earth, sun, stars, and comets froze in tandem, breaking off with the laws of gravity and Newtonian physics in an act of mercy. Watching from his palace of stars, Newton's ghost wept, witnessing his inexplicably small fraction of fallibility framed so clearly for the first time, when earth's only lunar satellite hushed science, quieted 2,000 years of observations by Galileo, by Brahe, by Copernicus, by the other insomniac dreamers also made of stardust.

She conquered logic for me. The moon wrestled astronomy, untangled the scientific lexicon until the words lay straight, stretched out like fishnets, until she was meant to be nowhere but here. Now she watched, waiting for my soul to crawl into a stronger shell, picking out ovular promises that she saw glinting in the kelp: a new house, a beautiful house for me. (It isn't yet, but it soon will be.)