This natural paperweight, this stone
on my desk, pink granite peppered black,
I rescued from a watery home

where waves lapped shoreward, roiled, pulled back,
washed over, rolled, threatened to pound
it to pebbles, then sand, weather-cracked

and battered, crumbled in the sound
with shells, dead creatures. Entropy
can act on beauty, polish it round

and glassy, passing it through ropy
kelp and reed, till nothing remains
that's worth display. This sea trophy,

this piece of geology detained,
abraded only by my thumb
absently rubbing over its grain,

pacifies and soothes in some
primeval way. I forget the crime
of erosion, blunt forces that numb,

grind all things' edges in their prime,
and wear me down, one cell at a time.

Bruce W. Niedt is a beneficent bureaucrat from southern NJ. His poetry has appeared in Writers' Journal, Mad Poets Review, The Fairfield Review, Up and Under: the QND Review, U.S. 1 Worksheets, and a host of others. He won first prize in the ByLine Magazine 2003 Short Fiction and Poetry Contest, and was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

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