after Francis Ponge
Gnarled as cliff-face, two shells suctioned,
one snug in another to shape a rocky pear,
bluish, held together by a dark protein hinge,
content once in spatfall on a piling, changed
from free-swimming to inert life filtering
plankton from water, beating cilia. Dredged
firmaments of bread and brine now on ice
with lemon wedges in a fish-stall window.
Soft, protandric pulsations in mantle skirts
made liquid to itself, turning males female
and back again, telling secrets that require
a knife to pry open and vinegar to serve.