Monday, August 24, 2009

Blessing Blue Crabs

Smiling white teeth, television
host pleased with her face, her
there-you-have-it filling the screen.
One last shot of the elegant restaurant
poised a few miles across town, its proud-
bellied chef & owner, spit-polished silver,
glasses clear enough to ring.
Goodbye to the women who blessed
the blue crabs with hymns, who undressed
the trapped bodies from blue-tinted shells,
lifted the meat from its legs, sealed
flesh for markets, who weren’t invited to
sit at the linen-clothed tables of the fine
restaurant featured on the cooking program,
a “must-stop” for indulgent diners
passing through the Low country,
who, still in uniform, sang
stridently in the cannery kitchen,
who spoke barely above whispers to cameras
stationed outdoors for interviews, against
the backdrop of foamy sea, whimsical sailboats,
who posed at picnic benches propped for the occasion,
supplied with paper napkins, who sampled
the chef’s famous crab cakes, a cup
of water to wash them down.
Yes, they are delicious. What else
could they answer without accusation
of ungratefulness, their dark fingers
shaking away the delicate crumbs?

-Yona Harvey