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Clade Song 13

Oyster Faith

Horseradish!!! I say to the guy,
fingers thick as boat rope,
hunched with the knife
like some medieval inquisitor.
Crazy as a cracker. Mug of draft.     
Cup of cocktail sauce. I unhinged
those living stones myself: working
through college, metal-mesh gloved

like a knight, tight dagger
finding the gaps and sweet
spots; unloosing that oozy
pop. A tight-lipped, thick-ribbed

Cajun, every other week,
would order three dollar 
dozens. Saintly patience:       
a mullet-cut framed

his face, waiting at peak hour
for a bar stool by the bin.
“Give me big ones,” he’d grunt.
Then he’d smirk and slurp
down thirty six. I’d imagine
him unleashing his two straight
oil-rig weeks on some mistress,
or brothel. Well hell, aren't oysters

The shucker lights another
on my tray. Smaller ones,
sea salty, like lick-lipped

sex with a squeeze of lemon
tears. Sweat pearls 
his dark brown brow. Prizing
the shells of their meat, one

by one, he tosses a
glance at the bottom of
the tip jar. Chump-change
lumped there shiny and lonesome.






LC Gutierrez is a product of many places in the South and the Caribbean, as well as writing and comparative literature programs at Louisiana State and Tulane University. He now writes, teaches and plays trombone in Madrid, Spain. His work is recently published in Autofocus, Notre Dame Review, Sweet, Hobart, Trampoline Journal.