Tim Kearns

Blue-armoured, somnolent, and taped
hands poised—as if in measurement
of the day’s haul—the lobster sits
beside the scale, like Scorpio
to Libra in zodiacal
parody: his deliverance
or Thermidor waits on the stars.

Tin buttresses shoulder the shale,
rattle with each raw gust of wind,
and cast themselves the stopping place
for blinkers, wiping spectacles;
marauding down the lines of stalls,
and baring heads and witness to
the spawn-eyed fish and knots of shells.

Crustaceous greetings worry at
the glacial banks behind the glass.
The lobster, though, sits pretty on
a chopping board. And one boy stands
glued to the spot, hooked as it were.
Indifferently the knife falls—
breaches the saddle, saws the tail.

For all its arms, it could not see
off this. Perhaps the boy wonders
how it must feel to be thus rent,
and how an unabated breeze
might tease his nerves with salty rime,
before he turns to find his kin,
and I check in with mine.

Tim Kearns is Head of English at Kilgraston School in Scotland. He has had a number of poems published in the UK, and has recently edited Selected Poems of Sherwin Stephenson, 1947-49, due for publication in December.