A Crab Dinner in Three Parts by Simon Cockle

Always sideways,
they teeter and bob,
pressed up against the glass
with their lazy cartoon faces.
They retreat beyond
a murk of unkempt water;
a danse macabre played out
beneath the crab store strip lights.
Then, the agony of choice;
the reaching out to clutch,
with eyes positioned in front
of the sockets in frozen horror.
For we will all end up on our backs
slicing the air, grasping at shadows
when the black handkerchief settles.

What is this?
An unfolding of towels
and a temporary reprieve
in a thick dawn of warmth.
Steam has fogged the kitchen
and there is an insect charm
in the uncurling of limbs
and incredulous faces stooping
and crowding the sink.
We are all lifted for a moment.
The gift of flight astounds;
the sudden death astonishes.

They break apart
with a crow-bone snap,
water seeping out
of their pearl sockets
in place of blood.
And the hunger for what’s inside,
in inverse proportion
to the tapered fingers of clotted pink
removed like buried treasure.
The eyes have gone out
but the shells remain,

Simon Cockle is a poet and writer from Hertfordshire. He writes as part of Poetry ID, a Stanza of the Poetry Society. His poems have been published in Envoi, iOTA, Prole, The Lampeter Review, Picaroon Poetry, Skylight 47, An Algebra of Owls and the London Progressive Journal, amongst others. He was invited to read at last year’s Ledbury Poetry Festival, and will be returning again this year. He teaches English at a local comprehensive school, and has a wife and daughter who nod reassuringly when he reads them his poems. More of his poems can be found at https://simoncockle.wordpress. com/



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