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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 Jon Gann.

Kim Roberts is the author of A Literary Guide to Washington, DC: Walking in the Footsteps of American Writers from Francis Scott Key to Zora Neale Hurston (University of Virginia Press, 2018), and five books of poems, most recently The Scientific Method (WordTech Editions, 2017). She co-edits the journal Beltway Poetry Quarterly and the web exhibit DC Writers’ Homes. Roberts has been the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, HumanitiesDC, and the DC Commission on the Arts, and has been a writer-in-residence at 18 artist colonies. Poems of hers have been featured in the Wick Poetry Center’s Traveling Stanzas Project, on the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day Project, and on podcasts sponsored by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Arts. Learn more at Kim's website

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