Refuge at Monomoy

Shells in shoreline

I stumble upon an empty milk crate
washed up on shore and asking to be a chair,
so that’s what it becomes for me
as I sit and put the pieces together,
the pieces of each little thalassic ecosystem,
the pieces of this place—flashes of memory.

And this convergence—
wind-blown shrubs, and piles of empty mussel shells,
and little waves delicately rolling in, and driftwood gnarled into magical shapes,
and a weathered, rotted-out dingy protruding from the dunes—
disorients my sense of where I actually am.
Somehow, it should all feel much simpler,
but I am overwhelmed by the expanse of sky
and the sea minutia unfurling before me—
seeing it again; seeing it anew.

I notice the sky seemingly bends toward the horizon,
and I feel the breezes bringing the dune grass to life—
bringing the shore birds in to feed in tidal pools,
glistening and rippling ever so slightly.
And I notice my breathing slows,
and my body slackens.

The treasures deposited on the shore
with each incoming tide
beckon to me.
I run my finger along the ridges
of a mottled scallop shell,
and decide to carry it home.
It will go in the glass jar
with the others,
and it will remind me
to return—
again; anew.



Poem by Jessica Jost-Costanzo

Jessica Jost-Costanzo, Ph.D., is Associate Professor and Chair of the Arts, Communication Studies, English, and Interdisciplinary Studies Department at Mount Aloysius College in Cresson, Pennsylvania where she has been a member of the faculty for 11 years. She teaches composition and literature. She has published with Ancient Paths, Tiny Seed, and the UK Covid and Poetry Project.