portion of the artwork for Ken Poyner's poetry

Advertising Ploy
Ken Poyner

I do not know
When the crabs had at last had
Enough. Everything had been
Going well: boiling and boiling
And letting my customers watch
As the live crabs are dropped
Hard shelled into the cylindrical pot.
One crab on occasion would
Catch a claw on the rim—
But the steam would soon get him
And into the murdering water he would
Slide. Some customers I suspect
Would root for a crab like that one
To make it out, scurry through
A back door left open for ventilation,
Ride run-off to a storm drain,
Power his way to the sea. No matter.
The customer pays by the half dozen,
Eats him and his crate-mates anyway.
Then, on what should be a busy night,
With crabs and beer giving stench to
The unappreciative businesses to either side
Of our specialty restaurant, we open
The happy door to the room where the live
Crabs are kept and the formidable wooden
Crates are blundered open, wire mesh
Unbent, stretched aside. Under the ledge
Of the storage shelves: dozens of eyes,
The dancing of raised claws, rows
Of decision about how the crabs’ night
Ends, why the taste is so legendary.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 55 | Spring/Summer 2020