Homarus Divinus

by Christine Adams Beckett

The blue, crustaceous,
Frothing body, waved its claws
Like a ballet dancer stretching
Before its finale, an involuntary grand jété
Into a pot of furious water,
Piercing the steamy air
With articulated antennae.

Released by a freckled, scarred hand
Of an educated renaissance man
On the cusp of emotional understanding,
The shellfish with a history of its own
Gradually morphed into a new state
Of existence. Baptized to a red-orange hue,
Cleansed of its darker exoskeleton,
It demonstrated a sacrificial metamorphosis.

The lobster transferred to a plate,
Resting on a minimalist refractory table
Made stable with matchbooks and a needlepoint
That declared “Peace is where the home is,
Home is where the heart is.”

A woman in her ninth decade
Prepared for the transubstantiation
Wearing a housecoat, stained from years of nurturing
And armed with able hands familiar with every cavity,
Eyes clouded with leukemic cataracts
That now looked only inward to recognize what
Remained vivid and familiar.

She assumed the dance,
Less gracefully but just as
Poignantly as she pulled every
Morsel of delicate flesh from
The shell. As her dining companions
Made more work for themselves,
An old woman was esoterically
Transferred to her childhood plane.

We reveled more in her recollections,
Made richer than any spiced traditional
Canadian butter. Yet hereafter,
A lobster served on white table cloths
In the culinary capitals of the globe
Would seem bland by comparison.