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120 Lilace Mellin Guignard Grief A ghost crab burrowed under my left shoulder blade. I didn’t see it coming, so faint in the twilight. Holding its breath through winter, it holes up in the cavity behind my heart. Out here, the shorebirds of responsibility circle, hungry, resenting how I protect the guest I didn’t invite. Where would your loyalty lie? With loss or demand? Even if those nags could pluck the crab clean from my skin’s strand I’d miss what it holds in its beige shell and bursting air sacs— memories like diamond rings which fit too tight. When it shifts, my heart shifts, each feeling the season. The weather will warm, taunt the gulls, it must, it must. It always has. They know I’ve become attached. Then the crab’s out. Beady eyes on stems will look every way at once except to dark heaven with its swooping shadows. By day I’ll carry it in the pocket carved in my carapace. By night, it will scavenge sideways hunting for chaw, catching its breath at the edge of this world. I’ll wait alone then, while my grief scuttles across sand and the shorebirds sleep, impatient. ...


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