Christine Roseeta Walker

Christine Roseeta Walker

The Crab-Catchers

Popping torchlight brought
the children and their rippling shadows
to the morass where the bush-crabs
rested at the mangrove’s edge:

crabs up to their bellies in mud,
seated by their doors. With giant claws
pillowed on sludge, their dotted eyes
watched shadows passing before the moon.

Each child, armed with crocus-bags
and bottles of light, looked like fireflies
caught in the thickets in the night,
with mosquitos playing Jonkonnu on fifes.

The crabs, seeing the darkness exploding
with light, turned away from the moon.
They scrambled on their stiletto legs
and dashed down their watery holes.

Stretching and reaching
through the escapees’ doors, with optic hands
the children brought the crabs back
to face the knots in the burlap bags.

Now tip-toeing on their neighbours’ carapaces,
they foam and watch the sky from the bottom
of a drum, waiting for a cloud to stand still
before the mongoose sun.

CHRISTINE ROSEETA WALKER is a new poet and novelist from Jamaica. Her poetry is inspired by her childhood town, Negril.