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Lament for the Creature from the Black Lagoon

Jamison Crabtree

Amphibian-men don’t frighten me
unless they’re holding something— violins especially;

when I tried to play the violin Jane found in the attic,
the pegs held as tight as teeth

so I played out of tune
the only song I knew, that
of the body splintering itself.

And if you, Creature from the Black Lagoon,

emerged from whatever depths you’ve found,

covered in wrack but playing a fiddle perfectly,

I would be forced to nod at the miracle
of the skill. I would

need to reevaluate my life
because I have a secret.

Which is this: I feel
like I should be more important
than any sea creature,

though I know scientifically
that I am not. But I should be

more important than you,

with your horse eyes, your capon head
with its same dumb capon comb.

Tonight I am thankful

that you can only play the woman as an instrument,

and that there’s only the one
awful note again and again.

Creature, I cannot stand the sound of women crying
because I have spent too much time listening to it.

Another secret:
Appalachia houses hundreds of monsters
all living in seclusion,

chopping wood beside their cabins

I know; my father comes from there.

Jamison Crabtree

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