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PROTANDRIC

By Kim Roberts

Oysters may look to us
like wet floppy tongues,

but there’s no licking.
There’s no touching.

Oysters are protandric-
they can change sex at will.

All oysters are born male.
They change to female

the following season.
They seem to like being female

most of the time. The older the oyster,
the more likely he’ll be female.

And you thought
they were an aphrodisiac?

One male ejaculates
then every male in the colony

follows suit. Soon the waves
look like milk. The eggs

sway like belly dancers. It’s spring!
Once again, it’s spring.

Added: Wednesday, April 29, 2015  /  From "Little Patuxent Review," (Winter, 2014). Used with permission.
Kim Roberts
Photo by Rick Karlin.

Kim Roberts is the author of five books of poems, most recently The Scientific Method (WordTech Editions, 2017). The title poem of that book was featured on a seven-foot-high banner at the National March for Science in the Wick Poetry Center’s “Science Stanzas” project, and is now traveling the US as part of their Traveling Stanzas exhibition. Roberts is the co-editor of two literary journals, Beltway Poetry Quarterly and the Delaware Poetry Review. In August, she will be a writer-in-residence at the Luna Parc Foundation, her 17th art colony fellowship. In Spring of 2018, the University of Virginia Press will release her nonfiction book, A Literary Guide to Washington, DC from Francis Scott Key to Zora Neale Hurston.

Other poems by this author