ROMEO AND JULIET
Horseshoe crabs, May, Pickering Beach
Juliet’s helmet is clogged with eggs
like slate-blue shot (most, red knot bait.)
This is the night. She cannot wait.
Romeo is a third her size,
his head (which is his back) studded with eyes.
Sooner than unclasp, he’d die,
as many do. Along the wrackbreak lines
are strewn the corpses, hinged on the tail-spikes
that tried to thrust them free, turn them upright.
Sand-smothered, Juliet lived through
the sucked-back tide, the sunken moon,
her Romeo buried with her in the tomb,
and who among us can guess what it’s like
when, dug out, she can scrabble toward the tide,
with Romeo still clinging for dear life?
—dear life. It’s what the clawed, the mailed—the bugs,
the aliens—throw on the sand, when their cold blue blood
beats to the tides, the moon, and love.
Catherine Carter’s poem is reprinted from The Delmarva Review, Volume 8 (2015). Ms. Carter was raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and now is associate professor of English at Western Carolina University, in Cullowhee, North Carolina. Her poetry collections include The Swamp Monster at Home (LSU, 2012) and The Memory of Gills (LSU, 2006).
The Delmarva Review publishes literary fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction annually, in print and digital editions. Published by the Eastern Shore Writers Association, it welcomes outstanding submissions from all writers, regardless of residence (see the website for information: www.delmarvareview.com).