An excerpt from

Mechanical Bird
by Asa Boxer

The Lobster
Asa Boxer

Sunk behind its dingy window
in a supermarket aquarium,
the lobster turns a muzzy eye
on the great élan of air.

Exposed to every scrutiny; it waits,
claws bound, an antenna snapped.
Not a crawl-space, nor a shadow.
Still as stone; invisible, it hopes.

It hopes a lobster’s coral hopes;
it thinks a lobster’s murky thoughts.
But its brains cannot conceive the sea
outside the lobster-shell. Desire, thus,

keeps slim to fit the narrow life within.
You will never hear the baffl ed lobster cry,
What crime could be so great it moved the sea
to single-out a bloated shrimp like me?”

It’s a muffl ed clatter, this life that smudges by:
rattling cartloads of death perambulate past;
smutchy children nose and thump the glass;
vague eyes and teeth wink pearl hints

of what’s to come. This wispy world
suffused with light; a lobster’s carnival-
afterlife. Where each impression colours and brews
through nerve, and muscle, and sinew.

Where a thorny heat keeps life fi red
to a reddening shriek. And God,
God boils it through.