Self-Portrait as Lobster in Supermarket Aquarium

My arms are bound by thick blue bands
of rubber. I want to show the children
who come to peer at me through glass
how to scissor their enemies, exert,
with one claw, pressure of a hundred
pounds per square inch. In a Dutch
still life, boiled orange and arranged
with shell slashed down the middle
beside a toppled goblet, a dish of butter
softening in the heat, a tray of nearly 
moldering lemons, I am meant to be 
one of many emblems of vanitas: 
how all things swiftly yield to ruin
even before they're buried in the soil, 
though I and my kind have been 
known to live up to a hundred years. 
I am a lesson in deconstructed anatomy:
brain in throat, teeth in the abdomen,
kidneys in the head; ears in the legs,
filaments for taste in the feet. Once,
I grew to a length of almost five feet—
how easy it would have been to be 
eater rather than the eaten.


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