blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1



Night Crabbing

Touching, we say, when something’s
close, less weighty, lying in bed, telling

again our summers spent watching
Mother as she showed us how to hold

blue claws by the lower appendages
and stroke their bellies calmly

working their bodies into a trance.
Sleeping, she called it, though

we knew what the lines meant:
wide V-shapes, arrow studs.

Crouched on a gray dock, it was
a way of freeing a net’s nylon twine,

a bunker’s head, leaving our hands
intact, as we measured, point to point,

ones we would carry home against
ones thrown back charmed, falling.

Above a black pot, it was small
mercy, arousal from a child’s finger

coaxing them limp, drifting, as if
in our hands it dreamt of water. 

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