Claire Crabtree

Here among sea creatures
No tenderness,
Just propagation.
We arrive this May
To find the horseshoe crabs
Climbing each otherís
Hard shells, silent, purposeful.

They leave pools of larvae to serve the sea birds,
While clams and crabs rise in beaks,
Are dropped to crash on the jetties
For a swooping delectation.

The horseshoes, earthbound, unexpressive as German helmets,
When overturned, will wave their eight legs, pincers, horrible to us:
Creatures meant to crawl.

True, as a girl I found a tiny horseshoe shell
Not ground by change of tides:
It sat transparent on my desk
Till I grew up, forgot.

These days, even the children donít walk barefoot,
We worry about erosion, and
Hardly acknowledge the primordial--
Barnacled, unlovely,
They are simply
There on the beach, dying or mating
In their strange circles
Alive, ongoing
Outliving us.


Into this place, the people cameó
A wooden structure at the edge of the villageó
Near the village of the dead.
Humble and bundled against the cold.
The women wait patient
In the wool aprons of their region;
The priest sings
The tabernacle distant, blinding with candles.
They stand two hours,
No one thinking of pews, of rest.

Now, a gift of the village,
It fits inside the museum building,
Even the wooden spire.  

Entering, with faded paintings
On raw boards around us,
By no skilled hand anyway,
That likely showed the infidels
In the river of Hell,
No women saints but Mary,
As in the monasteries near Suceava,
We are drawn into its center
As particles to a magnet,
As snow flakes to an upturned face.

We wish never to leave
To stand here untiring
Within the building within the Museo Tzaranului
Along the cityís long boulevards
As if whatever remains
In the wood
Or the space it encloses
Is haunted
Or hallowed.

Claire Crabtree

Claire Crabtree teaches American and Irish literature at University of Detroit Mercy and heads the Creative Writing Program. In addition to scholarly publications on Faulkner, Toni Morrison, Louise Erdrich, and other writers, she has published poems in such publications as America, Passages North, VIA, Crosscurrents, Dan River Anthology, and Moving Out. In 1994-5 she served as a Fulbright Senior Lecturer in Timisoara, Romania. She lives in the city of Detroit with her spouse.



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Karren Alenier

Jon Ballard

Virginia Bell

Bruce Bennett

Sarah Bonifacio

Sarah Browning

Jared Carter

John Thomas Clark

Jennifer Pruden Colligan

Claire Crabtree

Yoko Danno

Anthony DiMatteo

Robert Farnsworth

Carol Frith

Martin Galvin

Jen Garfield

Do Gentry

John Grey

JoAnne Growney

Amanda Halkiotis

Kirsten Hampton

Sherry Horowitz

Reamy Jansen

Brian P. Katz

Jesse Keegan

Mary Ann Larkin

Nancy Tupper Ling

Gregory Luce

Pete Mackey

Larry Moffi

Judy Neri

Shep Ranbom

Cynthia Nitz Ris

Lori Romero

Janice D. Soderling

Sandra Staas

Paul Kareem Tayyar

Naomi Thiers

Davide Trame

Jean Tupper

R.J. Van Zandt

Sharlie West

Barbara M. White

Terence Winch

Kathi Wolfe

Ernie Wormwood

Katherine E. Young










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