What Barnacles Are Not

Barnacles look like cement
but they are soft, flaky
fragile shells
that crush if pushed
inside a purse
where they don’t belong
or if pecked
by a gull
where they do

so is it all the same?
that I bring one home
from an island called Angel
though the vikings meant angle
a crook to hook a fish on

because I found it at the bottom
of the ocean
attached to a stone
on the ocean floor
one evening when the ocean was not at home
and left its shore open and wide
for me to thieve in

is it all the same
purse or gull
where the illusion of strength
crumbles?

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