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.
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.
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.
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
2 thoughts on “The Crab”
I’m feeling this, Michael. But we shall fight on to save the seas; fight on to save you; fight on to save us all.
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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. 🙂
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