by George Thomas


The male fiddler crab seeks to entice his mate with the twang
of his dominant claw. It is a useless appendage otherwise,
too cumbersome to graze the beach for detritus like fish
carcasses or the nuclei of microbial tide surfers. Upon the sand
he scurries, wearing his masculinity on his arm, dragging it
when he’s drowsy, post coitus, starving, dying.

The young metamorphose soon enough to eat his corpse
if the birds don’t have it first.

It is virtually impossible to breed fiddler crabs in captivity.
Their young, once hatched, are little more than beads akin to plankton,
thrust by waves into the abyss of open sea, at the mercy
of Nature’s divinity,

it’s lawlessness. Inedible to us, they are collected for the pet trade
as an exotic alternative.

A tepid curiosity.

Still, the male fiddler plays a tune, alone in a sullen contrivance
of his beach

where he was master.