Self-Portrait, with Seasonal Crustacean

They climb over each other in the bin—
Chesapeake blue that turn violent
orange as the water boils. But now

as the storekeeper wields a pair of tongs,
all is skittery movement, no beautiful
swimming but a clawing at the air

during the moment of capture.
How smooth each back looks, otherwise.
And underneath, ridged grid like an old-

fashioned washboard; hinge that pries
open to cell after cell of white flesh
and rooms of brittle parchment.

Aren't they just like us, then—
eager to escape what's meant to be
our fate, trying to keep intact

inside the shell of our own
invisible sweetness that curdles
as soon as the enemy approaches.




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