A crab labours across my thigh.
Oh. The first time I got crabs, I
Swiftian self-revulsion: me
unclean! But now I think instead
‘I must get some A2oo,’
and feel (picking it up, watching
its tiny beige legs, a live thing
that wriggles in all directions)
neither disgust nor indifference,
but a fondness, as for a pet.
I’m glad it’s nothing worse, and yet
it slipped and swung from one of us
to the other, unfelt because
the skin was alive with so much
else. It was a part of our touch.
From London Magazine, Vol. 1 No.11, February 1962