Flick of wrist. Young man with knife
and hair flecked with salt crystals
pries each shell open.
Three round cuts loose the prize.
On their bed of ice
glistening bivalves nestle among
wedges of Meyer lemon.
One by one you tip cold tongues
of mostly muscle into your warm
mouth, note this one briny,
that one sweet. Washington coast
denizens your favorite.
Four more Shigoku appear.
Beer is my companion as you sip
shells of cloudy liquor. Clean
wash of hops across
my palate, fruit of vines.
I prefer fruits de mer fried
in butter, laved in chiles, stuffed
into plump buttocks of bread.
Raw oysters, too vestigial, incipient:
aliens from a soaking wet planet,
or thumbs of flesh we once were
in amniotic oceans.
About Janna Knittel
Janna Knittel is a writer from the Pacific Northwest who now lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She earned her MFA from the University of Minnesota and has published poems in Adirondack Review, Apostrophe, Cold Mountain Review, Jabberwock Review, Midwest Quarterly, NEAT Magazine, and Parnassus. She was a finalist for the 2016 Rita Dove Poetry Award from the Center for Women Writers and was co-winner of the James Wright Award from the American Academy of Poets in 2013 and 2015. Her current projects are a chapbook of poems about the cultural and environmental impacts of The Dalles Dam in Oregon and a book-length manuscript of poems titled Real Work.