With great effort from the water.
She scrabbles forward,
Searching for dry sand.
Her claws leave deep, wet scores
In the cold, black muck at water's edge,
But don't catch well
In the softer stuff
Just a few lengths farther inland.
Pale grey, this sand
Is polished to silken
Fineness by the wear of ages.
It holds the heat she's searching for,
Even now, long past sunset.
One of the last of her kind,
She does not know it;
She'd strive as strongly
If she shouldered through a crowd
Of a hundred of her sisters.
Guided by the pull of instinct
She knows only temperature;
She seeks the perfect weight and warmth
Of sand to cradle her last egg.
She finds the place just as the moon's
Face lifts over the sea's horizon.
A perfect hollow in gull-grey sand
Waits as if for her alone.
She nestles in it, closes her eyes,
Waits as the night breeze chills her back,
Her own scales quicksilver in the light
Of a spring full moon, a light to spawn by.
And when the egg is laid she turns away.
She kicks a drift of soft, fine sand
Into the hollow with careful purpose.
The moon lights a path for her across the beach,
But she knows the way back to the sea,
Just as the hatchling will know his way
Back to Atlantis when the sun spills gold
Over his first morning.