The Crab Man

by Eliot North

Turn left, close the gate
Enter Mariner’s Lane.

The road to the shore
Is all salt and tar.

Go right down to
Correction House Bank.

Smell the fish guts,
Feel it pull you.

Push Gossip’s voice
Far from your mind.

Ignore the shudder
Of trains, overhead.

Down Tanner’s Bank
Pick your way.

Head held high,
Nose to the wind,

Past empty warehouses.
Go to The Crab Man.

Block out the warning
Tone of her voice.

See him in his red robes,
Inside the chainmail door.

Feel the cleaver’s rhythm
Smashed over and over.

Watch how he stills,
Cocks an ear to the sound.

The swish of metal skirts
Closing behind you.