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Beach Conversations


Riley Pickett

I captured the sea. I like not knowing
what time it is. Does it seem darker
to you? It’s spooky how clear
the water is, says the paddle-boarder.
I wonder why clarity scares them.
I like knowing what’s next. I love
that boats are always named. A thing
with a name becomes something
I can love, something I can wrap
my mouth around. A shell, you say,
a full one - delighted by an artifact
still whole. The water is cold, but
my body outweighs
the discomfort. I can always bear
the necessary. I think about you
as I collect rocks, pick only
the most beautiful. You build
an altar with them. I think
everything holy
is already here.

Riley Pickett (she/her) is a queer, neurodivergent minister and writer. She currently works as a chaplain to hospice patients and their families in the Puget Sound area. She studied English at the University of Mississippi and received her Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary.

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