The Hermit Crab Scuttles Across The Sand From One Shell To A New And More Comfortable One

Darren Bifford is the author of Wedding in Fire Country (Nightwood Editions, 2012) and...


It wasn’t that bad. Depending on which uniform
Banged at the door I’d say we’d always lived here
Or—who’s asking? There was no shortage
Of federalist visions; we had flexible identities.
In the cities the rent was cheap. Someone’s trash
Usually ended up at my house: I’d take bookshelves;
Then there was that old couch. Burckhardt wrote
Of our unprecedented variety of life. Masses rejoiced
In the profusion of the masses—my bread and butter.
I’m like the hermit crab who, in general, is never satisfied
With its current living conditions. Blames the tide,
Or some beach party for its pissy desire to move again.
The danger is in the transitional phase, scuttling
In clear view across the sand, where gulls cock their grub,
Never at home. A broad consensus might emerge hereafter—
Nothing to do with despotism. Who’s asking,
Less important. Catastrophe periodically insures that peace
Is merely the time given between wars when the good,
Like a garage sale, is good for the getting.


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