There are an unexpected number of seashells in everybody’s house.
There are not a surprising number of dogs.
There is red hard candy waiting on some tables, not a lot,
In a few gorgeous dishes and in some boring beige dishes,
But in nearly everywhere in my house there are a lot of shells,
And in some places a few shells, just as there are lots
And a few in your house and everybody’s house, unexpectedly.
It isn’t even a world-wide obsession or a decades-long fad, or the new money,
With cash banned, checks banned, credit cards outlawed,
And seashells declared the coin, oh no.
It’s something I’ve noticed and most of my friends
Are abnormal while most of my acquaintances are normal.
In the mix of personalities each bunch has a surprising number of shells
Just lying around, or placed beautifully in the home.
The animals that had been inside were formless shifting shapes, a bad match
For the startling patterns and precious colors and bold colors
On their own shells.  A young swift seven-foot bottom feeder is attracted
By the luscious shell but it’s too hard and thick to bite through
To the firm, shifting, delicious slime of the animal in it,
So the bottom-feeders learn to leave the shells alone.  The big fish
Have no stake in green splotches on brown in front of a pink base,
But we do and such human interest is also in three shades of white
And also in curved gray lines on black clamshells.
I’ve even rediscovered a window shelf in my bathroom
That I had forgotten displaying 27 smaller shells
And very small sharks’ jaws and sharp jagged brown coral,
Which was unexpected and exactly what I’m telling you about.