Heatwave Cooks Mussels in Their Shells on California Shore
Pelagic, coated in a thin layer of film, the soft body of a mollusk shares myriad traits with the human tongue. Therefore, we pay great sums to eat a plate of mussels, steamed, or fried in white wine— the meal is the fulfillment of our not-so-secret wish to destroy the self to get beyond it, to silence, at last, the voice that haunts us when we sleep. Listen, the voice says, I am trying to show you how elegant your face is when you dream. Listen, the voice says, as a boy zigzags along the shoreline. His small footsteps crush scorched shells, which snap like the hinges of a door slamming closed.
About the Author
Benjamin Gucciardi’s first book, West Portal, (University of Utah Press, 2021), was selected by Gabrielle Calvocoressi for the Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry. He is also the author of the chapbooks Timeless Tips for Simple Sabotage (Quarterly West, 2021), winner of the 2020 Quarterly West Chapbook contest, and I Ask My Sister’s Ghost (DIAGRAM/New Michigan Press, 2020). His poems have appeared in outlets such as AGNI, American Poetry Review, Best New Poets, Harvard Review, Orion Magazine and Poetry Daily. In addition to writing, he works with newcomer youth in Oakland, California.