The Crab

He picks his way along the rough volcanic shelf as waves wash over his water shoes, bubbling and stirring through tide pools of red sea-anemones feeding. Sharp rock cuts into the rubber soles, trying to cut flesh. Fish dart about in their stone bowls. Crabs back into black holes, hiding from his shade.

Sea Anemone in Tide Pool
©2017 Michael Dickel

Crabs scuttle everywhere, in the shadow of rocks, through his mind.

He stoops down and grabs one with a fast hand, taking care that claws can’t catch flesh. Eyes on stalks watch him. Into what sort of soul do such onyx spheres window?

He considers crushing the crab as a metaphoric act of defiance.

The crabs invaded quickly, furious fascists aggressively pouring over boundaries, intolerantly attacking cells and greedily taking all their victims had. Neoplasia. Neoplasm. They established bases in lymph nodes, hip bone, vertebrae, a single rib. He shelters from the belligerent strain, not wanting to face snipping claws tearing him apart.

Crab in Tide Pool
©2017 Michael Dickel

Who wants this crab?

Immunochemotherapy poisons his body like pollution in these choppy waves kill the sea. Only, his body supposedly will come back to health and strength. Watching the plastic-bottles bobbing off the shelf, out of reach behind the breaking waves, he doubts the oceans will return to health. He wonders if he will.

Does it matter whether he returns—

If the seas die? If the forests fall? If carbon dioxide blankets the globe? If our house is on fire and our children will burn?

He looks at the crab in his hand as it raises its pincers defensively.

Holding the Crab
Digital art from photograph
©2019 Michael Dickel

Wind touches him, winnows emotional clouds from his skin. He releases the creature near a crevice, walks to the edge of the rock ledge. He looks out to where green meets blue at an indefinable distance, then down into unfathomable water where he sees green darkening to black—

no reflection, neither sky nor him.

Michael Dickel ©2019

Author’s note: If you check the links, many go to sources with more information about climate change (like the ones in the first paragraph, for example). Some define terms related to The Crab (cancer). The photographs of crabs and a sea anemone are from Habonim Nature Park, on the Mediterranean, south of Haifa, Israel. More info: Union of Concerned Scientists FAQ



The focus of "The BeZine," a publication of The Bardo Group Beguines, is on sacred space (common ground) as it is expressed through the arts. Our work covers a range of topics: spirituality, life, death, personal experience, culture, current events, history, art, and photography and film. We share work here that is representative of universal human values however differently they might be expressed in our varied religions and cultures. We feel that our art and our Internet-facilitated social connection offer a means to see one another in our simple humanity, as brothers and sisters, and not as “other.” This is a space where we hope you’ll delight in learning how much you have in common with “other” peoples. We hope that your visits here will help you to love (respect) not fear. For more see our Info/Mission Statement Page.

2 thoughts on “The Crab

  1. I really enjoy your poems with links, Michael. Not just the overall pieces themselves (because you are a good poet) but the way the links make the entirety of the poems even richer. I suppose that is part of the ‘magic’ of the internet, in being able to expand on the written words in such a way. I always learn something when I follow those links. I’m glad the boy didn’t crush the crab. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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