A Japanese friend gives me a small
Ziploc bag of something she calls star sand:
spicules no bigger than a millimeter across,
petite skeletons of dead sea creatures.

I try to imagine whole beaches of them
glittering white in the froth like real stars,
wonder if they sting the bottoms of feet
or if the pinpricks feel good, like acupuncture.

I transfer them to an empty dropper bottle.
They rattle like rain, like rice, like words
drawn through a sieve. On the label, I write,
"Use sparingly."

Jackie Bartley
JACKIE BARTLEY teaches at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. Her most recent book of poetry is Bloodroot (2002). Her poems have appeared in a number of journals including Crab Orchard Review, Phoebe, and
The Spoon River Review.
The Adirondack Review