Margin: Exploring Modern Magical Realism


Once a year
thousands of land crabs
each in its chosen shell
converge on the beach
at an hour they all know

I've never seen a crab orgy
but when it ends—
shells, claws, legs untangled,
eggs carried off by the tide—
the sea turns red

Afterwards, crabs return to our hill
to hide among rocks and tree trunks
and gaudy dog-strewn trash
so colorful you can't tell cactus flowers
from beer cans

At night, when it's cooler,
the crabs come out
each in its own private shell
to hunt and bask in the moon

That hour together on the beach
never happened.

p h i l l i s   g e r s h a t o r
s t.   t h o m a s ,   v i r g i n   i s l a n d s

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Rev'd 2004/05/21