Poem of the Month
Hermit Crab

By Michael Prior

Published on July 6, 2016

Regardless of what you’ve been told,
I moved in because I didn’t want
to hear the ocean anymore,

the slosh of water autopsying itself—
a reminder that I would one day
be an unclaimed vacancy.

That endless hum and pulse rattled
the limp spiral of my body, echoed
through the sideways cadence

of my thoughts. Sleepless, I ground
down my jaw’s fine coral—until
I found this place. Abandoned,

sand-shuttered, garden gone to weed.
I tended a bed of anemones in anticipation
of my enemies and examined

the interiors’ flaking paint: opal swirls
like a child’s unsteady scrawl. Nowadays,
I live above the shoreline,

out of reach of the waves’ white hooks
and the visitors, who unknowingly
hold me to their ear.

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