Roy J. Beckemeyer


At Home on the Shore

The homes of mollusks almost never
go on the market, no matter how lovely,
how brilliantly constructed.

Oh, certainly hermit crabs will use
a discarded shell, turn it into their own
private Winnebago, but most
just drift, end up half-buried
on some white sand beach
until, on another storm-drenched
tropical night, a wave dislodges
them wholesale, and at once
there goes the neighborhood,
afloat, adrift, scattered.

Their colors fade, the shiny
surfaces scour, their chalky bones
begin to show, minerals go back
into suspension in the sea
from which they were built.

And somewhere, in some decrepit
tenement of an oyster bed,
a Wellfleet or Kumamoto slushes
seawater through its gills,
haphazardly adds to its shaggy,
craggy shell, and devotes all its art
instead to the pearl it hides within.



Roy Beckemeyer Headshot

Roy Beckemeyer’s latest poetry collection is Stage Whispers (Meadowlark Books, 2018). Amanuensis Angel (Spartan Press, 2018) comprised ekphrastic poems inspired by depictions of angels in works of modern art. Music I Once Could Dance To (Coal City Press, 2014) was a 2015 Kansas Notable Book. He recently co-edited (with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg) Kansas Time+Place: An Anthology of Heartland Poetry (Little Balkans Press, 2017). Beckemeyer lives in Wichita, Kansas and is a retired engineer and scientific journal editor. His work has been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net awards and was selected for Best Small Fictions 2019.