Crustacean Love

Crustacean Love
by Carolynn Kingyens

The spirit of a man can endure his sickness,
but as for a broken spirit who can bear it? (Proverbs 18:14)

My small hand splayed the word S/H/A/M/E;
each letter, a finger resting on your back
as your knitted shawl fell loosely between two horned blades.

Your shawl then became a net,
and I unraveled the treasure trove –
a feast full of crustaceans, sea-grit,
crushed shells and dead mermaids.
My thumb nicked the snow crab’s knuckle
during the long hull back to shore,
and I bled right there on the beach.

I was not strong enough to endure their kind.
Some would call me too soft, or god forbid, fragile.
Have you ever tried to comfort a lobster,
or hold them up by their open claws like a tottering baby?
Hard shells could be a sympathetic lot all on their own.

Now who doesn’t love a cruel victim,
be it man or crustacean?

The day I left, they held you back
after I bit down hard on your finger
as you pointed it in my face
like a lock-loaded pistol.

Could I wholly exist without your love
to tell me that I was here all along?

I heard later that you cried.
I heard later that you bled.
I heard later that you walked
the whole length of the pier
wearing nothing but a white gauze nightgown
and that shawl.

1 thought on “Crustacean Love

  1. Castaway
    (A response poem)

    Salt of the Earth
    came flushed blue
    into a wounded sea,
    changing the brine
    that cries out men

    I want to keep this one,
    decided in broken water
    hot drizzled butter run
    on the succulent moment
    my heart got split open
    and the knight shining
    in amour act was shed.

    I needed to save someone.
    Turned out it was me.

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