by Jordan Pérez

The sea is an incarnation of God.
God is quiet. By the lowcountry moan of the docks,
the crabs run through the underwater grasses.
In the reflected world, the men approach

with the wire traps swaying before them.
The lures, chicken necks choked with string.
The terroir, peeling palmettos and the shoreline,
as abrupt as the silence after a scream.

The men’s experiment: to see if the righthand
claw, removed, might grow back. Their trick:
to hold the legs and stroke the head — putting
the flailing crab to sleep makes things simpler.

(Some of the crab women, heavy with egg sponge,
will be tossed until they’re desirable again.)
What a creature, who can be fully sucked away
and still leave behind her little life-
like shell.

Finalist, the Poetry International Prize 2022

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