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In the tidal pool I hopped gingerly from stone

to stone, caught up in the cozy staging of it all:

the lazy water lapping at my sneakers, the colors

of each trapped little creature magnified as if from

baubles behind glass in some salty storefront.

I peeled one tenacious dweller from a submerged

perch, and watched the thick arms fastening to my

palm - agents of a clinging self out of its depth.

Remorseful, I restored it to the chosen outcrop and

smiled as it again embraced its hard-won home.

The careless tide washed in and over it until its

little body appeared to ripple and fragment under

the lens of water, then seemed no more to be.

— Maryse Hile

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