Bones with Skin Draped over Them

We buried the crab in the woods, built it
a shrine. Said some words, too, like ‘I hope
your life was okay,’ ‘I hope what killed you
did it quickly,’ ‘I hope your children will not
suffer your absence so very much’. I cried
all the way through this five minute ceremony,
thinking about my mother; her star sign, it
was cancer. She enjoyed them, before it killed
her. Whenever on the beach, she would find
one, grab the lively skeleton between thumb

and forefinger and watch its bony legs fly
mechanically through the air in unimagined
fright. I never did like when she did that – not
very much because of the crab’s fright (I cared
very little about that; the crab was more like
a prop, a toy), but more so because of my own;
I preferred the crabs dead. I would study
the anatomy hidden beneath the shields atop,
the locus where broken body parts supposedly
re-grew, like tumours. I wondered how long

this buried one had been dead for, already. If
it might have had a ceremony before, already. If
crab-children would do such a thing. If they would
cry (I wondered, too, for merely a small
fragment of a loose, lost second, if this crying
might be the reason why sea levels are rising,
and smiled some one-sixth of a very scant smirk).
I wondered if crab-children ever even know
who their parents are. If they will remember
who their parents are, after they lose sight of

each other. I wondered if I would.

Stephanie Luka was born in 1997 to a Dutch mother and a Congolese father. She discovered her fascination with the arts only after quitting her career as a professional gymnast and entering the University of Amsterdam at the age of sixteen. Her work emanates mostly from dreams, and has previously been featured in Allegory Ridge, International Times and Visitant Lit, among others.