Although

lobster is a delicacy to
lobster, and possessed of the ability
to drop and grow back claws,
lobster is not known to feed off of

itself. The temptations of self-sufficiency
are great, but not great
enough, nor is it the practice to keep lobsters
in tanks decorated with seaweed and authentic

rocks, harvest a claw at lunch and let grow
back like a plant on the sill incrementally
added to the pot, pet and lab and living menu
developing personality in time,

although its face
never warms to mine, and if face
is too strong a word—
it looks so like a terrible crack

in a wall something worse is coming through—
unless it’s the odor, the strong
personality that’s developing is
my own, and a better word for that is

appetite. My town has no aquarium.
I go to the supermarket
with a wild hunger to
observe. Cured ham should be sliced thin enough

to read the Times through. In line
at the deli counter on a day the door
was wide open to the possibility of
early spring for which

sacrifice was made
in the freezing dark a few weeks
earlier, I saw
a thinly sliced rip of incandescent

honeyed ham dangling
like the pendulum of a clock
in the stringy grip of
a wasp. No, not like a pendulum.

Not like a clock. I was young then
and mistook nearly everything.
I have been carrying this for
a long time now.

It was a pendulum.
It was a clock.

###

Do You Love Me

Robyn Schiff is the author of Worth and Revolver, and the forthcoming collection A Woman of Property, which will be published in 2016. Her recent poems have appeared in The New Yorker, A Public Space, Company, and elsewhere. She co-edits Canarium Books and teaches at the University of Iowa.

“Although” was originally published in “Do You Love Me?” (TLR, Spring 2015).