Shallow Pools

Three fish
backs leaden grey;
faces, bellies dead white,
fish eyes bulging sideways:
three fish flop their tails
in the bowl’s clear water
frothing from a plastic hose.

Four red bowls
encase fishy prisoners.
Eels weave through each other
around their bowl.
One huge octopus cramps
in his bowl while tiny octopi
in their bowl
tangle suckered tentacles.

In smaller bowls cluster baby clams,
crammed crabs writhe entwined legs.
Ragged edged slugs
lie rock still, submerged.

Sea shore dwellers lie trapped
in these bowls
on Korean city streets,
sold to city workers
who no longer gather
their dinner where
the sea laps at
pools it gouged
from ancient rocks.

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Shallow Pools

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