A journal of narrative writing.

We don’t want to eat them at first, my little sister & I. The crabs hard to crack, & sultry, the smell wafting from the brown paper bag. And we’ve spent all day in their waters, dredging with our yellow bucket, peering down at their dark shells collecting on the pail’s dappled floor. Moving like hands, a surgeon’s, searching a breast—one misses a leg, heaves the water side to side. Years later, my aunt will greet me from her sofa, & her shirt will stir this way: rippling as she hoists herself up, fabric loose like water disturbed. Her bobbed haircut will slip off her forehead when she straightens, looking at me as if through fog or glass—the same vacant stare of all my father’s sisters gazing through shop windows, toward the long plastic throats swanning up to brunette wigs. The reflection of their lips across the mannequin’s pale chin will swim in the glass like twin red fish. Their fingers will absently curl their hair—my father grips a crab claw, ruddy from boil, from which the body dangles limply. Get it all, he says. He guides the silver mouth of the cracker down, pinches, tears the arm free, & bows his lips to the meat, drawing out the flesh still steeped with sea. Really try, he says, to leave nothing. My aunt laughing with her mallet beside him, my sister & I mimicking her heavy swing, smashing the husks till they shatter.