Issue > Poetry
Patricia Caspers

Patricia Caspers

Patricia Caspers's work has appeared recently in Futurecycle, Valparaiso, Storyscape, The Mom Egg, Quiddity and Ploughshares and is forthcoming from Generations, Main Street Rag, and Dirtcakes. She edits poetry for Prick of the Spindle.

Two Atheists On The Strait Of Juan De Fuca

Mr. Tjemsland likes to check crab pots on Sunday morning
while Mrs. Tjemsland attends Mass, so that's what we do.

In his aluminum boat we skip the chop of wind and charcoal waves
toward orange buoys bobbing at us like old friends.

What he wrestles from the sea isn't a pot at all, but a wire circle, baited.
He explains the chicken neck, how a dungeness scents it, crawls in, caught.  

In the colder calm below the surface, he says, floats a maze of rusted cages,
abandoned by crabbers, their spoils forgotten.

Mr. Tjemsland's catch is full, though. Armored spiders
snap and pinch as he measures, flips their shells.

You gotta cook 'em in warm water, he says. Too hot, they scream and run.

I imagine Mrs. Tjemsland later, stoveside. As the crabs screech
and clamber for escape, she weeps into the gathering steam.

Mr. Tjemsland points the boat home. Beyond us Rainier sleeps,
its glaciers dulled by a smudge of rain.

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