Near Midsummer

Hot crabs, cold beer, & Old Bay – that’s what Maryland summers are made of.

“Crabs are done!”

Hot spice scent fills my house, steam rises from red cooked crabs,
cats and dog circle round trying to figure out how to penetrate
armoured hard shells protecting succulent white flesh.

Sweat drenches, it’s hot, hot work steaming a bushel of crabs-
a gift from a friend “just because.”
Kindness is currency and will cycle back round to him
and back again to me. It’s just how we do things on the Bay.

“Aren’t you having any, Mom?”

Oh, yes, baby. Just not yet.
It’s hot, hot business doing crabs right – but it’s in my bones,
I learned it right growing up on this water.

1/2 a quart taken in and another 1/2 quart of water to take in,
replacing water steam has called out of my skin. Don’t replenish water lost with beer – not yet. Save it, save it for after-

“I’m going to take the dog out first.”

Into the night, teased by clouds, but still cool and the breeze
tickle-kisses the rest of the sweat from my skin. More water drunk as the pup mozies along, taking in all the day’s gossip peed out by others.

He adds his own replies several times,
and I hope he doesn’t advertise our windfall of crustaceans.

“Want a beer, Mom?”

I sure do. I’m ready now, body cooled, soul soothed, appetite roused.
Sure smells good in here, and feels better, too. The fans all put in valiant effort to suck out the kitchen heat and suck in the cool night air

Natty-Bo cold in my hand, crab still warm and
smothered with Old Bay before me,
life is good in the summer.