She Crab Soup
I was never brave enough to order the house special.
The idea of roe in my spoon made me nervous for the same
Reason I never swallowed watermelon seeds as a child
Because you could never be sure.
We were content to watch the locals tether boats
In a row along the dock, mooring just long enough
To share a bowl of soup before casting off
To somewhere I had never been.
We were locals too, but foreign without boats
Of our own, like lifelong visitors watching
Something older than our memory unfold
Over the eastern bay.
The ruined hour is crammed
With ten dollar teddy bears
And blooms fading by the minute
Because you lack the courage
To cut vital stems at a diagonal.
You stare down at half-moon nails
And brown tessellations on the rug.
Best not to look too closely behind
Closed doors as the nurse wipes
Spittle and other nameless fluids.
He says, “Thank you for coming,”
With a fish voice that flaps in open air.
You nod as your eyes track everywhere,
Anywhere but at the man who thanks you
With a smile that never reaches his eyes.
Catherine Lee spent her early years along the shores of Virginia before expatriating to a foreign country known as Texas. She is currently studying English, history, and education at Texas A&M University. Her work has appeared in print and online, including Wilderness House Literary Review and Impact, an upcoming anthology. She enjoys reading, gardening, and bossing around her husband and two children. Visit her blog or Twitter feed (@CatherineLee01 or via the web link).