Broken Whelk by John C. Mannone

Broken Whelk

There’s always beauty
even in broken things.

This small whelk once held
an ocean in its chambers

before that same sea
battered down its walls

the occupant, long ago
gone, only its ghost haunts

the emptiness, the shell
lying on the shore shows

its whorls, jaggedness
smoothed with polish

of time. Morning glistens
inside the glossy pearl

white—all that is left
of its soul.

John C. Mannone has poems appearing in The Windhover, North Dakota Quarterly, Foreign Literary Journal, Le Menteur, Blue Fifth Review, Poetry South, Baltimore Review, and others. He was awarded a Jean Ritchie Fellowship (2017) in Appalachian literature and served as the celebrity judge for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (2018). His forthcoming collections are Flux Lines: The Intersection of Science, Love, and Poetry (Linnet’s Wings Press, 2021) and Sacred Flute (Iris Press, 2022). He’s a contributing poetry editor for American Diversity Report. A retired physics professor, John lives in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Image credit: The sea-worn whelk, collected by Finn Bille on Sanibel Island, FL, and photographed & post-processed using Toolwiz Photos with Prismart filter and with a Van Gogh effect by John C. Mannone.