We ventured to salty waters on stony shores
and caught red crabs in knobby finger-bones,
chilled by wet winds that blew (how they blew)
in the dead of winter - in the staleness
of an old year.
We rubbed clear snot from chaffed, pink noses,
and blew puffs of heat into cupped hands
on white cheekbones.
We looked at each other and giggled,
sharing a half-caught moment of exhilaration.
I loved you then. I loved you,
decidedly, my friend.
But you laughed at me impetuously like you always do,
and I knew (in a lie or a whisper)
it was jealousy that would ruin us.
We drew up blue jeans and waded deeper, deeper,
sinking in selfish ignorance,
pulled by sucking mud and waning neap tides.
Our buckets were filled with miserable red pincers
and cracking shells,
staying alive to suffer ten more minutes.
We spilled their death into baskets of beach bicycles
and clattering bells - soft, hairy legs pumping
ferociously down the broken alley roads.
Our pedal brakes did not work.
When I fell, you spoke something that stung
like you always did,
but try as I might to swallow it down, the lack of
backbone in your callousness sickened me.
It stuck in my throat like a bee sting.
Your uncle waited for us in the kitchen, water boiling.
Your aunt ballroom danced in the lounge, drunk on
antihistamines and memories.
We fed on fresh crab that night, slurping
meaty flesh from softened shells, cackling
with ancient savagery, wild eyes
dancing in candlelight or drowning in wine.
I loved you then, decidedly;
I loved you as my dearest friend,
but also as my nemesis.
It was a decade later that your jealousy came to a
staggering boil, blubbering over the top of
the pot. Finally, I thought I heard the crabs scream,
but it was not your uncle's doing.
It was always you. You.
When I needed you to curb your sullenness
and remember my love for you,
you failed wholly and regretfully.
You failed me and you knew.
Now I'll cut you out like a poisoned claw,
and I'll burn you until you're cooked through,
and I'll walk away alone.