Watermelon Soda, by Mark Doty

Watermelon Soda

by Mark Doty

Pink scuttle
(a roasted pink,
like pork

in Chinese restaurants):
these claws poke out
from the pull-top

of an empty can
of watermelon soda,

which clicks along
the sidewalk,
wobbling cylindrical

and alarming
beneath weary palms
accustomed to

the homeless.
Strange island,
to yield a walking

hot-pink soda can
inhabited by a lucky,
Modernist crab,

carrying on his back
a tropic shelter
by Barragán

or Le Corbusier,
perennially modish
if not quite practical,

since the candy-pink
pop can tips
and gyros

as he proceeds,
unstable island
—housed in style,
or hobbled by it?
The pink metal
flashes in the sun,

and seems worth it.
Or did yesterday.
This morning, after

the all-night storm,
where’s he gone, our exile?
Floated clean away.

You can hear the poet read this and two other poems at the Key West Literary Seminar.

More poetry

~ by lolarusa on August 23, 2010.

2 Responses to “Watermelon Soda, by Mark Doty”

  1. This is the best crab poem I’ve ever read. It makes me wonder: are there really hermit crabs so big as to inhabit soda cans? There must be, for he wrote about it. It makes me think of the cigarette butt bug and the plastic bag in a tree bug. 21st century camouflage.

  2. I wondered if there were any more crab poems, so I googled “crab poem” and got 623,000 results.

    There are two about crabs as food that I liked: a wonderful one by Sharon Olds (http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/crab/) and one by Henry Carlile (http://www.poetryfoundation.org/archive/poem.html?id=180507).

    There’s a poem by Mary Oliver specifically about hermit crabs (http://mettarefuge.wordpress.com/2010/07/16/poem-mary-oliver-the-hermit-crab/).

    Then there’s a vivid one by Elizabeth Bishop, too (http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/strayed-crab/).

    Seems like I could read crab poems all day.

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