by Amy Clampitt
While you walk the water’s edge,turning over conceptsI can’t envision, the honking buoyserves notice that at any timethe wind may changethe reef-bell clattersits treble monotone, deaf as Cassandrato any note but warning. The ocean,cumbered by no business more urgentthan keeping open old accountsthat never balanced,goes on shuffling its millenniumsof quartz, granite, and basalt.It behavestoward the permutations of noveltydriftwood and shipwreck, last night’sbeer cans, spilt oil, the coughed-upresidue of plastic—with randomimpartiality, playing catch or tagor touch-last like a terrier,turning the same thing over and over,over and over. For the ocean, nothingis beneath consideration.The housesof so many mussels and periwinkleshave been abandoned here, it’s hopelessto know which to salvage. InsteadI keep a lookout for beach glassamber of Budweiser, chryopraseof Almadén and Gallo, lapisby way of (no getting around it,I’m afraid) Phillips’Milk of Magnesia, with now and then a raretranslucent turquoise or blurred amethystof no known origin.The processgoes on forever: they came from sand,they go back to gravel,along with the treasuriesof Murano, the buttressedastonishments of Chartres,which even now are readyingfor being turned over and over as gravelyand gradually as an intellectengaged in the hazardousredefinition of structuresno one has yet looked at.