by D. Walsh Gilbert
— after Crab on Its Back, Vincent van Gogh, (Netherlands) 1889 and in conversation with “Canticle in the Fish’s Belly”, Hundred-Year Wave, Rachel Richardson
Netting and an ostrich-feather headpiece
to auburn chignon braids gathered
and lifted off
off vintage silk and lace,
knee-high waves collapse
tenderly at low tide.
No one notices the crab.
The sun. The sand. A walnut cello.
And a gull
among the guests. At the end
of the vows, while time eloped,
down Folly Beach, South Carolina,
pictures snapped catch what’s missed
by anyone not present.
‘This, shipmates, is that other lesson’:
the green copper blood
in a single-chambered heart
of a back-tipped crab
Once turned onto its back,
pinchers catch sea mist--
and praying for the moon to do its job.
The gull notices.
down deep, sea crabs can’t feel
pummeling the ocean.
Storms rift overhead,
but at the water’s edge, veiled
upended and overset,
everything is different.
D. Walsh Gilbert's piece "Fish in the Middle of It" also appears in Volume III of Ekphrasis Magazine.