The Boys Go Crabbing
by Maralee Gerke

Next to grandpa on a windswept dock,
my boys sit wrapped in heavy coats
and stocking caps.

Solid five-gallon buckets
with padded seats (grandpa’s invention)
keep them close to him.

The morning starts with rotten fish heads
and slimy chicken carcasses.
no squeamishness allowed.

Over the side of the dock,
the baited pot sinks into inky water
only a rope shows where it lays

They eat sandwiches that grandma made
visit quietly and then
just stare out at the open sea waiting, waiting—

more quiet than usual.
Finally, grandpa says time to pull in the catch
they take turns pulling the heavy trap

up from the deep. Grandpa inspects
the catch, his measuring stick at the ready.
They hold the crabs gingerly and he says yes

we can keep this one. They help him pack up
the trap and the buckets and head back to camp.
Boiling water awaits the catch and they eat with gusto.

Grandpa’s knee touching them gently
making special memories
the day my boys went crabbing.

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