When we spent the holidays at your parent’s ranch
with the pasture covered in snow so
that the wooden fence looked like toothpicks
propped up on top
of a frosted cake

Did I tell you that
I found a giant hermit crab,
dead, and
twitching in our tire tracks
after you carried the kids inside?

A shell the size of a basketball
it must have come in with the water
and it made sense to me
that something so abnormally large could only be felled by distance
considering we were nowhere near the ocean

I stood over it for a while in the quiet
admiring its colossal leather claw
wanting to pocket its eyeballs like black marbles
and fashion the shell into a salad bowl

I wanted most
to know what you would make of it –
a miracle? An omen?
but it came to me that we had already decided
what we were
what was allowed and what wasn’t

So,
I put it under the front
left tire of our tan Ford 4×4, and drove.

It exploded like a watermelon
under a sledge hammer
bits of it littered and bled into the snow
all the way up the path inside
where you were somehow

asleep

and as I slid under the sheets to join you
I put my cold, dry, right hand
on your smooth naked stomach
like a claw
I couldn’t open

photo credit: Coral sand crab via photopin (license)

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