Susanna Kittredge

Mollusk Delight

Boiled mussels
are vehicles for butter and white wine.
I like to gnaw on their tough little feet,
and tender stomachs.
It is ironic
that mussels have so little muscle;
Legions of aquatic couch potatoes
in royal purple,
fatted kings all belly and no brawn,
they sit firmly rooted
to their jetty thrones
until displaced
in the bloodless coup of the fishermen.

Their cousins,
the craggy-faced jewelers,
taste best raw, cold, and on the half-shell.
Schlurping down oyster guts
is like finding the organs of a stone
and devouring them
so as not to forget
their treasure.

I have looked at garden snails
with a thoughtful tongue.
At once delicately sleek
and revoltingly gelatinous,
I trace the word "escargot"
along their smooth spirals and think
"they would marinate well."

return to SHAMPOO issue #1