Melissa Dickson


Here is the earth borne down and magnified
through my child’s few years: shoe boxes, crayons,
frayed brushes, glue sticks dried up or nibbled away,
a shell from Jekyll Island, a baby food jar.

A third grade science project, in it is fixed
not so much the ghost crab, its habits and habitat
so otherworldly from my son’s, but his own
most mortal and familiar domain.

On this stage, the tiny crab grows colossal,
the abject object of my boy’s assigned dilemma,
her infant prey held in flight on party toothpicks.
There is no end to the ghost crab’s desire,

her appetite as immeasurable as a mother’s worry,
but he’s only drawn six hatchlings, and the ghost
will have to contend with looming there forever,
glued as she is to the diorama’s back wall

while the sugar pearls-cum-turtle eggs are buried
in a pint of sand and imagined into a swarm of sorrow.
He’s read the crab must devour them lest her species
grow ghostlier yet when the turtles return to nest.

But look how his morning glories rage on the faux dune,
and the clipart clams cluster in a painted wake,
and the sweep of the sea oats whispers sweet reason
into the bay’s boxed and ever still wind.

Melissa Dickson

is a poet and mother of four. Her work has recently appeared in Shenandoah, North American Review, Southern Humanities Review, Literary Mama, Fickle Muses, and Southern Women's Review. Her debut collection, Cameo, is available at NewPlainsPress.com. Her Medusa-themed poems, collected under the title Sweet Aegis, are available at Amazon.com. She holds an MFA in Visual Arts from SVA and an MFA in poetry from Converse College.