The search

This child of mine
squats by the water’s edge
examining stones.

Each wave renews
their licked-clean shine,
their washed-face wet.

He sorts and grades and stores.
Sometimes he chooses one
for a pocket.

They are not for throwing
or building or even for marking
a boundary.

It is a kind of search
for the right stones, the touchstones,
those that ring true.

Some have markings,
lines like the palm of a hand
crossing and fraying.

This for the heart,
this for the head
and a long life.

Some live in his satchel
under the books
and double its weight.

Under the desk
he takes one out and inspects it,
fingers its cool skin.

A piece of the earth.
A chip off the solar system.
The world in a grain of sand.

Beatrice Garland

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