After the feast — tearing off aprons,
backs and lungs, cracking the claws
with the butt of a knife and eating
the meat — after our bellies are full
of succulent crab, comes the cleaning
of the pot where legs have let loose
into crevices, and claws, dropped here
and there in the water, grip each other
so tightly we have to pry them loose.

We dump the water into the drain.
It surges round, greenish-gray
with the goo of crab. We think
of the soft-shells, killed before
frying, wish we had taken those
instead, though in the sink,
disembodied fragments of crab clog
the drain, soft shell or hard.

We rinse the sink, take the pot outside,
wash it down with the hose. The water
pings against the sides like the sound
of shells scuttling against the fire,
the steam, the heat rising as the shells
turned slowly red, the claws twisting
and snapping at death.

We go on, cleaning the pot, thinking
questions that cling like claws to the brain,
grasping for expiation from these rituals
of killing and eating, these preparations,
always, for more and more and more.