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  You could have a big dipper   

Lobsters Are Cannibals by Samantha Ley

Shopping trip turns grim

When I navigate the car-shaped

Grocery cart to the lobster tank

My favorite part of the store

At her age.

“Mommy? Why does that lobster

have two heads?”

I peer closely

One lobster

Holding another lobster’s head

In front of his own.

He trundles through the seething mass

Full tank

Of claws, limbs, body parts.

Again, she’s done it.

With a child’s innate ability

To unearth the one thing

Worth commenting on

For better or worse.

Finally, my eyes discover

In the middle of the throng

Dessicated shell, lifeless body

Lobster, pantomime, prop

It’s 11 a.m. and they’ve eaten him

In plain sight

In the middle of the Shoprite

And now someone else is wearing his head

Stealing the identity of a former tankmate.

I glance at the fishmonger, white coat,

She sees us staring

She must know, but she

Avoids my eyes

Weighs the salmon

Someone should do something.

I make a six-point turn

In the giant car cart

Point out to my daughter the display

Of beach chairs, bright sand buckets while

Picturing ripped lobster limbs, shards

of lobster shell

Someone should do something

Someone, an adult, but not me,

Not today.


Samantha Ley holds degrees from Kenyon College and the University of Virginia. Her fiction has been nominated for Best of the Net. Most recently, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Fairfield Scribes, Albany Poets, The Manifest-Station, and Trolley Literary Journal. She is a fiction screener for Ploughshares and a writer and editor who lives near Albany, NY. Twitter: @SamJLey

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