Hermetic in a private cask,
a mollusk lives inside a mask
that seals him in and makes him grim
and sinks him when he wants to swim.
It's true he may be out of touch,
but nothing seems to hurt him much--
shucked and sucked and swallowed whole,
he esteems his vast collective soul
even when his cousins
are eaten by the dozens.
Terese Coe's poems and translations have appeared in The Times Literary Supplement, Alaska Quarterly Review, Threepenny Review, Ploughshares, Smartish Pace, Tar River Poetry, Agenda (UK), Poetry, The Cincinnati Review, New American Writing, The Connecticut Review, 32 Poems, and Orbis (UK), and will soon appear in Poetry Review (UK) and The Stinging Fly (Ireland). Her historical play, Harry Smith in the Chelsea Hotel, will be read by Equity actors in June 2012 in New York.