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