The Innisfree Poetry Journal
www.innisfreepoetry.org

by Claire Crabtree


PRIMORDIAL
        
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.


AT THE PEASANT MUSEUM, BUCHAREST        

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.


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