Keep him in a crate;

             take him aboard as shipmate,

study his Lordship’s scrawl

             as he curmudgeons up the crate’s edge,

a quickened tight-rope tiptoe there,


one pincer aching agape as if to saw

             the sky in half – warning us slow seamen

of when a storm is due. If only

             there were such easy cues to skew


suffering's passage. Some harpooned moon

             or blood red leaf to tell when

terror grows in the skull, a friend's child will not

             know another fall, the child who might


have thrived within you cannot. What to do?

             Set oneself crawling? Grow nothing good?

Perhaps no all-knowing Crab can be caught –

             Though we may hear his presence


below deck


clawing our wayward breeches –