Poetry by Allan Johnston

Topanga Fossil Bed><
Up canyon, at a right
bend of road, the cut side
of a hill is spilling out. 
Consider it:
<
across asphalt, old mud,
rock so soft fingers snap it. 
It’s a Miocene formation. 
For some reason -- maybe a pocket
>
of depression – it stopped here. 
These are shells.  Look at them. 
They could grace restaurant plates,
be products of factories –
>
clams and turritella,
ornate ovals and sea spikes,
pebble-smooth, each grained
like the other.  Turritella,
>...

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