A Journal of Poetry and Kindred Prose

Reid Mitchell

is a New Orleanian living in China. He has published poems in various journals, including The Pedestal Magazine, Asia Literary Review, Cha and Softblow.

His novel A Man Under Authority was published by Turtle Point Press. Frequently he writes with the Hong Kong poet Tammy Ho.

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Backyard Crab Boil

She crabs are fatter and preferred
but not fought over.
Fat garlic cloves split their purple skins.
Onions empty out themselves.
Our fingertips burn but do not bleed.
Red steam covers our faces and red peppers our mouths.
Red jewels we scrape with our fingernails as red carapaces pile.
And nobody born can bring beers fast enough.

Let’s create a world of crab eaters, covering
Louisiana to Mozambique in all possible directions,
Chesapeake to China, celebrating
along every longitude and every sea litoral.

Dispense with knives, pliers, mallets,
your so-called dignity, and internet news.
Those of us who can break, pick and gobble faster,
remember our manners:
Help the newcomers.
Save the best for the cooks.
Keep alive the rivers and seas so we can feast
on fat crabs flourishing.