Posted tagged ‘what we don’t talk about when we talk about shell fish’


January 30, 2013



Ian cried tears on to the hard shell of a dead crab
and knew in his heart he was finally a man–

So, she imagined him to feel at least, remembering
her own crustaceous wake-up, when a clam
she had singled out from the litter of bushel basket–
a clam that had smelled perfectly fine once far
from the ranked fillet of cod, had become
her pet clam, her very own dear, whose
smooth ridges she had brushed
(in breaks from the fridge)
against her cheek,
but who, in a betrayal
of pencil tray, school desk afternoon, had unnotched
into something as wet and pink and
vulvular as a disobedient
slave’s shocked

She had learned then
of the uses of shells and coldness, of the price
of using itself–the wages
of show and tell, reflected
glory–and if these lessons didn’t turn her
into a woman–she was six–they
did teach her what most women
know –  that you must safeguard that
you love–that pride goeth
before a fall–teachings that now pierced her
like the sunset pincers
she would pluck, if she could,
from her son’s puckered fingers–
for he was not yet ready
to be a man, and she, who thought she knew
so much, had not shielded him, but instead, callowly, had shown him
a quick-rotting taste of life trials, a tale
of pried consequences, a drowned cup
of salt and sand.


Agh!  Another draftish sort of poem for Isadore Gruye’s prompt on With Real Toads to write a poem that uses a line singled out as “promising” by publishing afficionado “Hamilton Cork”.  (I don’t watch enough TV to know for sure, but I think he is a made-up kind of guy!)   The italics line above is one of “Hamilton’s” lines.    Check out Izy’s great prompt and the other poets at Real Toads.