On Parole

By Kathryn Nevin

You eat crabs as if they were a danger,
splintering their alien bodies, the sores
of Lazarus on your hands, red and salted,
fingers working like pincers
to squeeze the white fronds of meat.

One scavenger's death, you explain,
is another's salvation.

And these crabs were caught red-
handed for pinching a piece of fish
or some other morsel.

And as you eat the sea rises in your eyes,
all that black depth held back,
and the blue tattooed stars that flash
on your skin still carry a distant tang, as if
you were back out there

raking your way along floors of unconditional chaos.