Molusco … Aqui… Aqui.
Bucket in hand, I follow
his lead. His silhouette
in the early light strikes
a perfect toe point – not ballet
but the liturgy’s greeting
in a sun-steamed fandango.
The hard, muddy floor of low tide,
his stage. I see a clam spit
where he taps his toe. Plunging
my fingers into the cold,
black muck, I wriggle it out:
meal and sacrifice. A ritual-like
rhythm that the dance ignites.
When we steam the clams,
the smell of vinegar
and hops bubbling in the broth
overtakes us. A purifying incense.
Pabst Blue Ribbon for him and since
I am ten, Porto with Ginger Ale.
In the pot the clams flower and pop.
Pelican-like, he tips his head back to let
the fat belly slide down whole. Delicioso.
Body, blood, soul, divinity. Clean-shaven
for Mass. Brown. Azorean. Vovô, to me.
A welcome substitute to the homily: Tap.
Plunge. Smell. Dance. Taste. But not
in a faith, not in a language I knew yet.
Copyright © 2018 M. B. McLatchey. All rights reserved.
Published in Naugatuck River Review: A Journal of Narrative Poetry That Sings,
Summer/Fall 2018 – Issue 20.