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Some use an icepick*


Image by Mae Mu

Joan holds them down -- stout stick or ham- mer handle,
pins each bony carapace --
seizes a convenient joint. Hand in/out like flash lightning,

she tosses them to huddle, seethe,
doused in water, vinegar and fiery season- ings,
lid slammed against their fury, tied or weighted.

She strikes the match, hears them scream – tensile keening extracted from center of consciousness --
they clamber across their fellows in frenzied panic.

But crustaceans are not like her,
all abysmal clatter and clack, galleried ranks of ruffled gill.
She does not identify with spacing of each petty synapse,
alignment of brutish ganglia.

*Some think it more humane to kill crabs by stabbing an ice pick through their brains rather than steaming them alive.

Ann Howells edited Illya’s Honey for eighteen years. Her books include: Under a Lone Star (Village Books
Press), Cattlemen & Cadillacs as editor (Dallas Poets Community), So Long As We Speak Their Names (Kelsay Books), and Painting the Pinwheel Sky (Assure Press). Her chapbooks include: Black Crow in Flight, published through Main Street Rag’s 2007 competition and Softly Beating Wings, 2017 William D. Barney Competition winner (Blackbead Books). Ann’s work appears in many small press and university journals.

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