4-20 Ghost Crabs

When Jess was 4-5 yo, we spent a church-sponsored, beach weekend on a NC coast. One evening we and a number of other parents and kids were beach combing–and the kids became hysterical about ghost crabs scurrying about. Hence:

Ghost Crabs


Ghost crabs have

burned-matchstick periscopes.

They flaunt ivory claws,

strut by neighboring bluffs,

duel over property lines.


I think of my sheetrock burrow,

my sandcastle tucked in suburb strands.


One king crab fashions the highest tower,

perches, taunts rivals—

until a draining ice chest

erodes his palace into a wet lump.


Sand gnats attack in bloodlust fury.

Cursing, I rise; the crabs dart into their dens.


Over sandy rims they peer at the ghost man,

scurrying up warping steps

and fading between bungalows

into a dark hollow surrounded

by mounds of sand.


(Veranda Literary Journal)