Oysters

Oysters

Oysters

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A weekly poem, read by the author.
Feb. 28 2001 3:00 AM

Oysters

Your concentration while you're shucking them
Is fierce; they fight against your prying blade,
As if intent to guard some plumbless gem
Of truth. I squeeze some fruit for lemonade;
The yellow rinds become a fragrant pile.
More scraping from the deck, a stifled curse—
You bring me one, the frilly muscle pale,
Defeated, silent in its briny juice
Like sweat expended in the effort to
Remain inviolate. I slurp it down,
One dose of aphrodisiac, and you
Return to your grim work, all Provincetown
Draped out below you, edge of the known world.
I see what is left: bone-white, hollow-shelled. 

Rafael Campo teaches and practices primary care medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. His most recent book, The Enemy, won the Sheila Motton Book Prize.