Upon Finding a Sand Dollar

Seeking receipts for car service printed
during the past year, instead my hands
found in the corner of a heavily papered
glove compartment not gloves but this:

One flawlessly, quietly intact sand dollar.
This flying saucer of the ocean had been
forgotten under bent-at-the-edges receipts
mounting for nearly two years, which goes to

show how often the convertible’s corners
are cleaned – and which leaves slight
judgment of self as to why this was not
discovered earlier, but most importantly:

How did it get there? Marine missiles fire
in the memory, ruling out that it might be
from our local beaches, nor a souvenir from
Mom’s house where she, too, collects shells.

Instead the weaving mind rolls itself into
the coastline of a Del Norte County town
where once we stopped as a family of four
for chocolate hermit crab cookies, then,

decades later I returned–a lone woman–and
found the bakery gone, and went to the beach
instead and put my naked feet in the water and
walked the sand strip, my spaniel smelling

the radius of his leash. If memory is correct,
which it is sometimes, it was an older man who,
seeing my aloneness, gave the trip its purpose
with the gift of one of his roundest sand dollars.

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