Maggie Blake Bailey

Folly Island

Canted sunlight punctures Spanish moss:

a hammered tin lantern of late afternoon.


Hawks angle sharp, the nibs of fountain pens,

as whelk shells wear to the last internal spiral.


Morris Island Light crests the bluffs

between teenagers holding bottles, trapping sunset.


None of the starfish are dead enough to take home,

broken quahogs gleam purple, mauve, a dirty yellow,


My shell greed stutters footprints across

tide lines, while the lighthouse rusts.


Its paint sloughs, littering salt water, the dead panes

counting and recounting old nights crowded with safety.

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