Oyster Night

You were culled just for me,
a plump tongue shucked
upon the half-shell                   a whole note dropped
headlong into the bleak song
you were born to sing.

Your eagerness to please people is legendary
generations of necks decorated
with the by-products
of your chronic irritation,
        a quiet, iridescent despair.

And if that weren’t enough service,
you compel us to covet the salty bodies
of neighbours and strangers
        (or, at least to flicker interest
in our own bored relationships).

I don’t need a mignonette
or hot-sauce costume,
just your fresh press against me
        mouth to mouth
silk muscling silk.

With one fell swoop
                                                and last gasp relieved
you’re swallowed
wave after wave
back to sea.


Carol Harvey Steski’s debut poetry collection is rump + flank (NeWest Press, 2021). Her poems have appeared in Another Dysfunctional Cancer Poem Anthology, FreeFall, untethered, Room, Prairie Fire and CV2. She won FreeFall’s 2019 annual poetry contest and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She lives and writes in Toronto. More: carolharveysteski.com and Twitter @charveysteski