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Christmas morning my hands are deep
in the work I know how to do.
I twist the whiskered heads,
jam a nail under razor armour,
leverage a hairline crack
that ripples down the husk,
rip it open. Salt juice on my wrists,
the Pacific invading the kitchen.
I yank out the black vein
in a single motion
leaving cleaved sweetness—
prone strophes in a blue willow bowl.
Sarah Holland-Batt is an award-winning poet, editor and critic, Associate Professor of Creative Writing at QUT, and the recipient of the 2022 Judy Harris Writer in Residence fellowship at the Charles Perkins Centre. ‘Shelling the Prawns’ is from her forthcoming collection, The Jaguar (UQP).
This poem appears in Openbook summer 2021.