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POKÉDEX ENTRY #91: CLOYSTER by Marlin M. Jenkins

Even a missile can’t break the spikes it uses to stab opponents. They’re even harder than its shell.

i dreamt a calcified sculpture fashioned from my own

intestines prodded the bottom of the sea.

found a groove to finger. found an eye-less beast.

found a detached shell to hold upright.

as a child i dreamt of swords

to carve an opening for entrails to trail a path

out the front door. i dream my fingers

sharpened and stone on the ends of spears.

how thankful i am for the movement of blood

as its flow stays within my callous body, thankful

for the man's shit-tipped finger as it leaves me

split. do not enter with your eyes. there is a dark

cavern in me, waiting. there is a spiked monster

there, protecting friend whose sharp jostling

reminds me of how my own cardiac current flows.

we bleed and keep the door shut. we both are afraid of light.


MARLIN M. JENKINS was born and raised in Detroit and is the author of the poetry chapbook Capable Monsters (Bull City Press, 2020). His poetry and fiction have been given homes by Indiana Review, The Rumpus, Waxwing, and Iowa Review, among others. He teaches writing and literature at University of Michigan, where he earned his MFA in poetry. You can find him online at You can follow Marlin on Twitter. You can follow Marlin on Instagram.


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