You’re like an Austin FX4 hackney carriage
in miniature: slow and expensive these days,
an oddity, like dulse or potted herrings.
Between the pads of my thumb and my index
I pinch the pin, then flip out your operculum.
I hold that flimsy disk up to the sunlight
and it becomes a-nazar-of-a peacock’s eyespot.
I flick it away and curl you out, suck you in
and briefly chew, before swallowing whole
your brainy body, like a keen snot-eating toddler.
You leave behind a tail of ooze: that oceanic crap
––so I eat it too––then bin your empty exoskeleton.
At Peggy’s tavern the lads slurp hot bigorneaux
by the bucketload. Picture one on Harry’s tooth-
pick of ivory and onyx, like a mignon caduceus.
I throw my hand into the pot and hoke out a willick,
like a bitter old committeeman at a candidate ballot.
Every ball is black. ‘Our members’ book is closed, sir,’
I say to a gastronome prospect, ‘this’s no mere escargot,
dowsed in garlic butter, that your da bred at his allotment.
We’re the last generation here. Find a prettier gastropod.’