Jonathan Gammon McClure (University of California, Irvine, USA)
You wake to find your hands are crab claws now:
scaly-pink pincers clicking constantly open and shut,
sometimes snapping in a way that startles
by how natural it feels. At work,
you hide them beneath your blazer
or below your desk. Colleagues whisper.
Each morning to your horror you find
that everything has remained exactly the same:
you’d expected the whole shebang,
expected Kafka but it’s just these fucking claws
that won’t stop ticking. You brew excuses
you’ll never need: novelty lost,
the whispers stop. The phone won’t dial
ever since you squeezed the screen;
those you don’t call pretend they don’t mind
until they aren’t pretending.
Sometimes you think of seeing a specialist.
All through the night, the claws keep clicking.
J.G. McClure is an MFA candidate at the University of California, Irvine, where he teaches writing. His poems appear or are forthcoming in various publications including, most recently, The Southern Poetry Anthology, and his reviews appear in Cleaver. He is at work on his first collection.