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  • Writer's pictureGastropoda

While My Husband Writes Our Wills, I Prepare Supper by Frances Klein

Shrimp take their revenge in the shucking.

Long after they have been hauled up, reeling

in the creel, long after they have been beheaded

and iced, long after they have been flown

across miles of verdant farmland, one grateful cow

tracing the jet’s path across a cloudless sky.

The shucking is rote from years of practice:

plunge one hand into roe-clouded water,

flick down the legs, peel back the armor,

twist the bodymeat like a pencil in a sharpener

until I pull out the tail with a pop felt in my gut.

The whole process is so muscle memory,

so same-old-song-and-dance that I go gone

behind my eyes, no longer see the shrimp,

the sink, the neighbor’s yard beyond my window,

sage fragrant in the summer air.

It is then each shrimp takes its revenge,

plunging a telson deep into the pad of my thumb,

bringing me back, suddenly, into the moment,

pulling me away from beneficiaries and bequests,

from guardians and executors,

demanding my apt attention

on this final flaying of a once living thing.


Frances Klein (she/her) is a poet and teacher writing at the intersection of disability and gender. She is the author of the forthcoming chapbook New and Permanent (Blanket Sea 2022). She has been published in So it Goes: The Literary Journal of the Vonnegut Memorial Library and Tupelo Press, among others. Klein currently serves as assistant editor of Southern Humanities Review. Readers can find more of her work at

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