Construction Literary Magazine

January 2017 Writers Respond

Empty Shells in Vinegar

Empty Shells in Vinegar
Photograph via Flickr by Mark


Grandmother reaches for a strainer
and clams are soaked in salt water.

She says, Grandfather’s throat
remains in the oven after his cremation.

I steep the empty shells in vinegar.
It slowly eats through

the gray surfaces. They are like ghosts
under the fluorescence.

She asks, Can you sleep with Grandfather’s bones?

I pierce a hole in a shell with a needle.

Grandmother dresses the spinach
with sesame seeds and sweet soy sauce.

Lime juice drips on grilled mackerel
after she puts it on a plate.

She always wears a stained green apron
like a uniform for this life.

She says, Are you making shell earrings?

In the late evening,
after she washes her face,

a meteor shower falls from the sky.

Some shells rattle;

some crush.