The Fiddler Crabs
by Mary L Westcott
Sunday, July 31, 2011
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The sunís rays light upon marsh
hawks first, as the male fiddler rises
on a spring morning to take up post
outside a creek tunnel,
his dominant claw a gaping
dinosaur mouth. He stretches
to the height of moon snails,
attempts to draw the next female
into his lair and failing, moves sideways
through Spartina grass tall as trees
to scavenge for another mate.
A female fiddler sets out to entice
with her slender arms.
The male swings his appendage,
beckoning, bending at the knees
like a body builder. After they mate,
he moves onto his next
prey, barely resting his giant
claw, fighting off other males
along the way.
She lays her eggs, attaches them
to her belly, then scurries to the waterís edge
to wash them. Most of her offspring
will be eaten by birds or fish.
She traipses over salt meadow grasses,
a golden plover hovering overhead.
Her task complete, she examines
detritus in the gray dusk.