Lapidary

Rosamund Stanhope

The sea inspects its
minutiae, rotating with an equal
indulgence plastic, bladder wrack, eel-grass
rejects nefarious
oil-slicks, birling them up to the selvedge of
high tide, relinquishing coral
topaz, amber, jade; resumes its proper office
of rolling dead sailors, cold engines
over and over in its green
looms, with the nonchalance of
neutrality; it observes
at one remove the blistering
shipwreck, the shot face; like Switzerland,
never taking sides in important
quarrels; but revolving with an impartial
forbearance Seemann and matelot
the bones of Kapitanleutnant and Commander
crafting them with a lapidary
talent, as it crafts other
pebbles.