Gambrol , Jean Wolff

Gambrol, Jean Wolff

At the Seafood Cafeteria

By Donald Illich


I ply crab on your plate, fling squid                                    in your bowl. You never wanted                                        is closed until the end of time.                                          

The McDonald’s is shuttered, dark.                                    Even Arby’s has been bulldozed                                        by developers. You remember sea                                    animals at the aquarium, each a world

to itself. How sharks shot forward like                                blue missiles, and octopi slithered                                    their tentacles in swirling patterns,                                    so they looked like oscillating fans.

You dreamed they were invulnerable,                              that they would never eat one another                            even if someone forgot to feed them.                              But now they stare at you, unmoving,

boiled, sautéed. Hungry, you want                                    to put them in your mouth, chew,                                      remember what it’s like to be an animal.                          Except you stop as the bits reach your lips.

Starving again, you think of MREs                                      of hot dogs, beans. You leave the cafeteria                     for your cubby hole in the earth, safe                               against wild animals, and other predators.

The brine smell of oysters tortures you.                            You imagine becoming a lemon, ready                              to squirt juice on them. But you can’t do it.                      All you do is splash it in your eyes again.



Donald Illich has published poetry in the Iowa Review, LIT, Nimrod, and other journals. The Word Works recently published his first full-length book of poetry, Chance Bodies. He lives in Maryland.

Born in Detroit, Michigan, Jean Wolff studied fine arts at the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit and at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, receiving a BFA in studio arts. She then attended Hunter College, CUNY in New York, graduating with an MFA in painting and printmaking. She’s since had group and solo exhibits in various galleries in New York City and internationally, had work published in 23 different magazines, and is part of the artistic community of Westbeth in Manhattan.