an on-line poetry magazine
for the 21st century

WINTER 2022-23

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Amy Siefried


An expert grafter gently pries
open the shell, makes an incision
and probes passed vital organs —

the stomach, liver, heart. Inside
the pearl sack of a black-lipped oyster,
he inserts tissue from a mollusk

and a bead. Back in the sea, the oyster
coats the irritant with nacre until,
in time, it’s an iridescent pearl.

This process is painstaking.
Many oysters don’t survive
the grafting operation. Others die

of parasites or disease. Even
in the South Sea’s pristine water,
only one in a hundred oysters

produces a perfect pearl. It is said,
Adam formed the first black pearl.
His eyes, outcast and heavy,

held a sea made of tears.

Amy Seifried’s work has appeared in The MacGuffin, Water~Stone Review, Willow Springs, and Zone 3. Currently, she lives in her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA, and she works as a professional writer.