MOLTING, Roger Sippl

by Roger Sippl

His back was already broken
when I found the molting lobster
while SCUBA diving at night.
It was his own volition that fractured it,
after deciding that he needed to grow beyond what his
rigid shell would allow.

So he cracked himself at his middle
and started squeezing his vulnerable blue-red body
that had developed inside this brick-red calcium exoskeleton
so that he could back out through the growing escape opportunity
between his tail and his carapace, rebirthing
to leave behind his old head and muscle sheath.

At first just a small amount of dark middle started to protrude
through the slot, and then the softer, translucent protoshell was showing 
growing into an ever-larger lump, as his eyes disappeared from their former 
and his soft-shelled lobster body flexed and protruded under my spotlight,
as if in a colored MRI of a disk bulging out of the spine 
of a person badly in need of surgery.

A dozen flips of his new tail and he squirted 
like a squid across the sand patch
to the other side of the reef where he found a protective crevice,
eel-free, and crawled inside to puff his new elastic casing
full of sea water to become a step-function larger,
allowing his new shell to harden in the hiding.

I looked at his former image 
left clenched to the rock
in front of me, both open halves, legs and antennae— 
the empty lobster molt—
making me wonder what prickly shell
that I, myself, might need to leave behind.

Roger Sippl studied creative writing at the University of California at Irvine, the University of California at Berkeley and at Stanford Continuing Studies. He has been published in the Ocean State Review and accepted by Open Thought Vortex, Her Heart Poetry, Bacopa Literary Review and two medical journals, JAMA Oncology and CHEST. He has written his first novel, which is in revision.

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About barkingsycamores 183 Articles
Barking Sycamores is a literary journal entirely edited and operated by queer neurodivergent people of color. We publish poetry, artwork, short fiction (beginning with Issue 3), creative nonfiction (beginning with Issue 8), and hybrid genre work (beginning with Issue 9) by emerging and established neurodivergent writers as well as essays on neurodiversity and literature and book reviews (beginning with Issue 10).

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