Proof of Heaven
BY JACQUES J. RANCOURT
In my father’s retelling
of the talk, a stork wanders a beach
searching for an oyster. He wants
its pearl. And after he takes it,
after the oyster has finished
resisting, he cannot put it back.
I’m not thinking of sex.
I’m thinking of the parable
of the merchant who seeks
the kingdom of heaven and finds
it is a pearl of great price.
Or the dream where my cousin
comes back from the beach
where he killed himself
wet and smelling of salt.
I return to this cove where the sand
forgets its pattern to find
the soul, pale and baroque,
but I don’t—Oysters swarm my feet
with their open, vacant mouths.