If I could walk backward like a spined crab
could I slough this clotted skin called cancer
drain the bright Beaujolais piss stained by blood
so I can wander the worn corridors
of this semi-forgotten citadel
neglected sentinel of the city?
Easy to forget: the new gets city
juices flowing, not some long-legged crab
a clinging ancien régime citadel
Overlooked, still looking over. Karkinos:
nurturer, the Moon ruled, whose corridors
teem with souls, the caring hands that know blood
mixed with the holy fleuve fixes this blood
as proper to this mongrel port city
Every street an archeological corridor
piled millennia deep with shed shell, crabs
known only through song kneel to a new cancer
come metastasizing its new citadel
This turtle isle, water sign citadel
this gatherer of alluvial bloods
where the river scrabbles, overturns, Cancer’s
fertile terrapin land, foster city
of castaways like me: in me, a crab
crawls through my corpuscles and corridors.
Ironic, it’s these care-worn corridors
here in this looming blockhead citadel
that caretakers bend backward, skittle crab-
like, to stanch the flow of castaway blood,
fertile alluvium of this city:
Mooniyaang, First Stopping Place; no cankers
nor rancour — care is cardinal for Cancer.
Seven fires still light these corridors
high above, watching over the city
it loves and nurtures. Can this citadel,
commingling place of alluvial blood,
show me how to walk backwards like a crab?
My window frames the city where Cancer may
cure may kill me. Don’t crab: one corridor
of my citadel might yet nurture my blood.