“I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” – Isaac Newton

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A shell grows around itself, folding over
the first pattern, calcified into a whorled shape, not dissimilar
to the whorl on the top of our two heads,
the pattern of gorgeous irreplaceable error,
and for a while the only assurance we belonged,
we belonged to the same species.
And the joy was piercing, this piercing joy
came up in me, a whirring train, night,
on the way home, somewhere before Memphis.

Shells

BY MARK NICKELS

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