Saturday, November 21, 2015

January Gill O'Neil: "How to Make a Crab Cake"

Start with your own body,
the small bones of the hands
moving toward the inlets of the fingers.

Wanting it too much invites haste.
You must love what is raw
and hungered for.

Think of the crab cake as the ending,
as you till away at the meat, digging for
errant shells and jagged edges.

Always, it’s a matter of guesswork
but you hold it together
by the simplest of ingredients,

for this is how the body learns to be generous,
to forgive the flaws inherited
and enjoy what lies ahead.

Yet you never quite know
when it happens,
the moment when the lumps

transcend egg and breadcrumbs,
the quiver of oil in a hot pan,
to become unworldly:

the manifold of pleasure
with the sweet ache of crab
still bright on your tongue.

"How to Make a Crab Cake" by January Gill O'Neill. Text as published in Underlife (CavanKerry Press, 2009). © January Gill O'Neill. Reprinted by permission of the poet.

Art credit: "How to Make a Crab Cake," video uploaded to YouTube by January Gill O'Neill on 6/21/2010.


  1. What a beautiful poem. Thank you so much for this daily sharing of poetry. I rarely comment but you should know how much this blog means to me and how utterly grateful I am for your gift.

    1. Thank you, Kabir. Such kind words!

      I want to gently tell you, in case you haven't noticed mention on the website, that this project will conclude on 1/1/16. I don't want you to be caught off guard. Be well.


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