Mussels in the kitchen
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Mussels in the kitchen

trashbin, at the top of the waste heap. Salt-crusted

breadcrumbs decorating black shell lips.

A sea of bread mould, oyster cracker waves

mycelium stems kelplike, black rot bottomless.

The garbage is three, four weeks old, bordering January—

I'm keeping it in, bringing the ocean home.

Take off your shoes, won't you please

and sit at the table, hear the seagulls cry.

Old mussels clatter from plates into the bin —

rip open a packet, tip some more in the microwave,

then spill them out, steaming onyx hairpins sealed shut —

a light tap, and sly mouths pop in surprise, gaping grins in a bowl

slurped greedily, deliciously, saltily,

vicariously —

tongues on tongues, meat on meat:

taste the joy of living,

of having made a mark,

of gifts from the sea,

of Pacific mussels.

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