Heart Like an Oyster
J. Marshall Jenkins
Your heart is no mere blue thistle surprise
on an altar with lilacs, lilies, and leaves,
all of which will die soon after the church
service ends. No, your heart is an oyster
among oysters resting on coral and sharp rocks
in waters brackish like forgotten coffee,
surviving. It opens when hungry, snaps shut
when something suspicious stirs the water.
Nevertheless, drill worms penetrate its armor,
and it survives and – as far as beauty
is concerned – thrives by lavishing the worm
with mother-of-pearl, and, taking its time,
encasing parasite in pearl to keep
within until some hand after beauty
pulls the oyster out of salt water and
opens it in the same light that feeds
and features thistles, lilacs, lilies, and leaves.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God (Matthew 5:8).
Bottom: Famartin, Pearl oyster with pearl inside at the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park in Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii, 2021, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.