Picking up stones

They bear down so firmly that it’s hard to breathe—
The first upon the second, the second upon the stone beneath, and so on.
And the walls they form stand for twelve hundred years or more.
Near the bottom, you can feel yourself becoming sediment.

I could not carry rocks over the ocean,
So I left them behind,
And sailed into port rapturously inhaling crisp sea air.
All my stones were gone.

It took me weeks to find work.
Then I showed up excitedly at the field station
For my first day on the job, and received my task:
Picking up stones.

This poem was published in DASH Literary Journal, Volume 12, Spring 2019.

Andy Oram
May 15, 2018