Lightly Seared on the Reality Grill (for NaPoWriMo, Day 4)

With a hundred blue eyes, the scallop detected
certain changes in light and shadow that led her
to believe she’d soon have another meal, perhaps
her own larvae, which were always delicious,
in their way—and besides, she lacked a siphon, so
she might as well enjoy. Or perhaps the moving
form that she sensed was another scallop,
a male scallop. She was not as excited by this
possibility, being both male and female herself,
and thus, not in need of any assistance or
company. But she always felt that it was only
sporting to release any roe she might have,
if another’s visceral mass seemed to be
calling out to hers. It was easy, living like this.
It was easy, even for a hundred eyes, to miss
the glint of the knife just before she saw,
at last, everything—but most of all, the sun.



NaPoWriMo, Day 4 prompt: Write a poem using as a title one of the fanciful spaceship names created by science fiction author Iain M. Banks. I got my scallop facts mostly from this Wikipedia page. Make sure to check out the diagram, too — it’s in color, so you can see the blue eyes. Truly, science fiction is real, and it’s all around us.


8 thoughts on “Lightly Seared on the Reality Grill (for NaPoWriMo, Day 4)

  1. I LOVE this, Marilyn–WOW! The voice you capture here is fantastic, and the world you create for the scallop (thanks, research!) is so vivid. The dual perspective of scallop and human makes the ending all the more poignant.

    Also, yum.

    • Thanks! I didn’t want to take it a step further and get into the grisly detail of how a scallop is prepared. Not because I’m squeamish (though I am), but because I wanted to leave her with some dignity, or at the point where she still doesn’t know she’s done for. It was kind of hard to build a persona and then kill it! And yes, scallops are tasty when not gritty. Now I know to look for “diver scallops” because these are caught by hand and processed more carefully for less sandy crunch.

      • Yes–that’s another thing that makes this poem so amazing: that you build so much sympathy for this fascinating persona (who eats her own larva).

        Very good to know about “diver scallops.” I hadn’t been aware of the distinction.

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