Kenn Kennedy

The Emulation of Crabs (for C.)

Go placidly amid caves and crevices, and remember to hide until your new shell has hardened. In all the world’s oceans, without surrender, take any food depending on its availability.

Speak your truth by drumming and waving; and listen to others, even to the boiled alive; a mixed diet results in the fastest growth and greatest fitness.

Avoid the biggest importers, and therefore countries; they are vexatious to the mating season. If you compare yourself with pulverized fish products, you may be served with garlic and lemon butter, for always there will be disdain for unacceptably low-quality substitutes.

Enjoy your migrations as well as your moults. Keep interested in the extraction of yourself, however coordinated; it is a difficult process that takes many hours, and if you get stuck, you will die.

Exercise caution even in your mouthparts, eyestalks, and the lining of the digestive tract, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what is floating in the water; many fight to gain access to females, and everywhere is now called an exuvia.

Be yourself. Especially just after the female has moulted and is still soft. Be efficient about mating season; for in the face of all acoustic or vibratory means, the eggs resemble round berries.

Take kindly the counsel of other animals with similar names, gracefully surrendering to those with marked sexual dimorphism.

Nurture strength of calcium carbonate to shield you from sudden use in bisque. But do not distress yourself with unambiguous fossils. Many fears are now believed to represent two distinct lineages.

Beyond a hard shell, be soft meat. You are a decapod of the universe no less than the Fiddler and the Dungeness; you have a right to be aggressive towards one another.

And whether or not it is protected during embryonic development, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with the articulation of your legs, whatever you conceive it to be.

And whatever your labors and aspirations, in some species, the meat is harvested by manually twisting or pulling off one or both claws. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, research suggests you are indeed able to feel and remember pain. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

(seed texts: ‘Desiderata’ by Max Ehrmann and the Wikipedia entry for ‘crab’ circa January 2016)