The Brineshrimp

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They have minute faces like walrussed grandpas
and they many-feelered paddle on their backs
with their black dorsal lines and bits of gravel eyes showing up
like bulge-eyed, curled up crowbars.

Nothing like crowbars
but have the strength of obstinacy
to live through a change to fresh water;
to whirr themselves from one cramped fish mouth
to another nearby, inevitable, drawn-in, spat-out death.
All the while on their backs and looking pleasantly ludicrous.

And at the same time to make love to each other—
to cruise around their rectangular chamber of horror
one brineshrimp starting where the other leaves off—
both on their backs.

They flesh-colouredly exist—uncomfortable for the most part—
and desperately love and are lump-throated funny
because they’re only very small, water-galumphing brineshrimp
and rather untidy—
and they mate and are fruitless.

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