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The Big Oyster
Colin Dodds (bio)

Creation is problematic in the city
The court of its paternity must entertain so many claimants,
human and otherwise

Fleeing the grove of nonexistence,
the Pharaohs of midtown spent their lives entombing themselves
in a city like the logos made of legos

The skyline they leave is the lower jaw
of an omnivore mouth,
canine office spires and residential molars

Like any mouth,
it is erotic and threatening, inviting and treacherous
It smells dubious

Between the spires and apartment blocks
is an accretion, like an oyster’s approximation
of its own aggravation

We live in this approximation of what’s within us
The gutterpunks in the park making plans to meet again
The subway stairs, slowed by walkers and strollers
The summer cooking garbage to an odor like a rat’s delirium
The men arguing about ritual
who are actually arguing about Ridgewood

And the elevated train ride looks like a gritty crime movie,
the scene of repose between bad things happening
But it’s our latest and most complete vision of beauty
That’s why, despite obvious reasons,
we cannot turn from its face

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