Touching, we say, when something’s
close, less weighty, lying in bed, telling
again our summers spent watching
Mother as she showed us how to hold
blue claws by the lower appendages
and stroke their bellies calmly
working their bodies into a trance.
Sleeping, she called it, though
we knew what the lines meant:
wide V-shapes, arrow studs.
Crouched on a gray dock, it was
a way of freeing a net’s nylon twine,
a bunker’s head, leaving our hands
intact, as we measured, point to point,
ones we would carry home against
ones thrown back charmed, falling.
Above a black pot, it was small
mercy, arousal from a child’s finger
coaxing them limp, drifting, as if
in our hands it dreamt of water.
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