Shellfish – by Diana Donovan

We drive to the overlook
for the golden hour, just us and the pelicans.
You tell me stories of Alaska
fishing villages, a twin-engine plane
thin layers of fog over the water.

I remember the photos you sent
saltbox houses, colorful boats
and piers, a misty cove
surrounded by forest
almost otherworldly.

There was this couple who ran the oyster farm
you say, rolling down your window.
It was like meeting us in another life.
I stare at the clouds—an angel, a hand
replay your words in my head.

Your phone rings. Sorry, you say
hold up a finger, step out.
I watch you walk to the guardrail
consider icy cold waters
all that prying open, shell after shell.

When you finish your call
I’ll say something about boundaries
how we can’t keep doing this.
Later, I’ll regret my words
have trouble falling asleep.

I’ll Google the town, study the farm on a map
read about the time the couple shot a Grizzly
when it attacked their dog. I’ll scroll
and scroll, looking for clues to this other life
where we fight to the death for what we love.

Diana DonovanDiana Donovan lives in Mill Valley, California. Her work has recently appeared in Off the Coast, Plainsongs, and Chestnut Review. In 2021, she received nominations for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.