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The Lobster

 Here at the Super Duper, in a glass tank
Supplied by a rill of cold fresh water
Running down a glass washboard at one end
And siphoned off at the other, and so
Perpetually renewed, a herd of lobster
Is made available to the customer
Who may choose whichever one he wants
To carry home and drop into boiling water
And serve with a sauce of melted butter.
Meanwhile, the beauty of strangeness marks These creatures, who move (when they do) With a slow, vague wavering of claws, The somnambulist¹s effortless clambering As he crawls over the shell of a dream Resembling himself.
Their velvet colors, Mud red, bruise purple, cadaver green Speckled with black, their camouflage at home, Make them conspicuous here in the strong Day-imitating light, the incommensurable Philosophers and at the same time victims Herded together in the marketplace, asleep Except for certain tentative gestures Of their antennae, or their imperial claws Pegged shut with a whittled stick at the wrist.
We inlanders, buying our needful food, Pause over these slow, gigantic spiders That spin not.
We pause and are bemused, And sometimes it happens that a mind sinks down To the blind abyss in a swirl of sand, goes cold And archaic in a carapace of horn, Thinking: There's something underneath the world.
The flame beneath the pot that boils the water.

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