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by Emily Scudder

I’ve been studying horseshoe crabs
but desire keeps scrambling up my hand instead
on 12 jointed legs, its claws determined to catch my skin.

Her legs have teamed up, the first two for eating.
The next, meant for sex, rehearse ’round my fingers.
Locomotion requires the remaining eight.

I have flipped her, bared her to the harbor air.
My tips trace her belly—salty and wet
she bends into me, moving my fingers
to the edge of her mouth.

In time I will flip her back
then kneel
then watch her sink
herself beneath the outgoing tide.


Emily Scudder’s poetry appears or is forthcoming in The Red Hills Reader and Epicenter. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and works as a library assistant, labor organizer, and workplace mediator. 

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