Half Shells

by Kelli Russell Agodon

On the ferry I overhear a man
tell his cellphone that he wants to stay
married, that they can make this right—
there’s a sunset the color of plums,
a few kernels of popcorn on the floor.
The man wants his cellphone to know
he’s sorry, he understands he fucked up,
can do better. As he talks, I think
about how this morning
instead of writing poems I sat
on the beach watching two otters run
across the shore and dive into the waves
together, it was almost synchronized.
I imagine them texting each other
love notes on clam shells. The man
holds his phone like a friend he’s trying
not to lose and I wish he’d just toss it
over the boat when our ferry docks
and walk out into the wet sand
to find a shell to give to the person
he fears he’ll never get a chance to love.

Kelli Russell Agodon is the cofounder of Two Sylvias Press where she works as an editor and book cover designer. Her most recent book, Hourglass Museum, was a finalist for the Washington State Book Awards and shortlisted for the Julie Suk Poetry Prize. Her second book, Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room was the winner of the Foreword Indies Book of the Year for poetry and was also a finalist for the Washington State Book Awards. She also coauthored The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts for Your Writing Practice, with poet Martha Silano. She lives in a sleepy seaside town in Washington State where she is an avid paddleboarder. www.agodon.com / www.twosylviaspress.com