964 Readings | 3 Ratings

A Crawdad’ll Hold Until It Hears Thunder

Don’t speak
              rudely to the dead, you whisper,
as if humor goes with the soul. Say soul is a crawdad scared
              backward into the sawed half of a beer can

caught by drunk teenagers across the river. Say I’m a reckless carp for it,
              color blind to its particular spectrum of red:
blood orange, bike rust, the cemetery

rose. You know walking past the graveyard plot named Slaughter
              is a kind of peasant’s armor. Who could afford
such crypts?

              And God bless the poetry on such epitaphs:
a giving person, a kitten in each arm. In medieval times poor archers

stitched lengths of crawdad carapace into breastplates
              that were effective at stopping arrows
shot past fifteen yards. What did they do, then,

when death knows each scurrying
              crustacean as a mask? Conqueror, ten-foot
money-shot. I’m an amazing,

fish-boned motherfucker for it. We’ll walk past,
              laughing. We’ll return.

Posted 02/22/09
"A Crawdad'll Hold Until It Hears Thunder" was first published in FIELD.
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