The oyster must get tired of waking up so hollow
brackish and briny, gathered
from bed, pried open and shucked
and don’t forget the delicacy,
it is after all merely a bone, a delicate bone,
jawed and clenched, locked down around itself.
It has been said that to be open is to be dying.
I have decided to try again.
You watch my face as the oyster slides down,
texture stealing language from my tongue, congealing
and collecting in the back of my throat,
yearning for cling, and I wonder what it would be
to die from oyster choking. In this moment, you register
intention as if you and the oyster had it all
worked out, this slow dying off I should have,
as you chant Oyster, Oyster, and I think of how the oyster
relaxes, opens hingelike, pumps colorless blood
through three chambers of the heart and how threes
are about as much as people can take,
and how I should like to become calcified
and shell-bearing, how I’ve always wished to sink to the bottom
of something vast. The freshness of the water, the fresh
water wipes free the mantel and all that is behind the head is visible.
I’ll begin to doubt most of what’s happened here
and you’ll be mostly uncomfortable. I’ll think
of encasement and that hollow shell and whether
it is to be returned or burned and slaked
and if there is any better thing to describe
this discomfort, this constant
sliding down.about the author