Lobster Season Closure

photo of lobster-shaped mat made from fishing rope

Lobster Mat by Art Marée Haute

I am crustaceal, half-molted.
There’s space enough
between my body and shell
that a fisher would find
my defenses shot.
Ecdysis, biannual self.
I am a commodity, export,
no longer poor-man’s food
prepared by wives
in drafty kitchens.
The engines are off,
hands still.
There will be time again
to be pulled upward,
lifted from saltwater.
For now, the pull is within
and away from myself.
Without rigidity, rocks appeal.
My octet steps take me there.

I am economical, shellfish-savvy.
At the pound, I ensure
there is never a paucity.
In tanks like swimming pools,
lobsters lay dormant,
unfed and ready
for take-off to China.
400 000 suspended,
banded by colour
and crated by size.
There’s no catch now
so we ship our reserves,
fill holes in markets.
My wetgear smells like saltwater
but I’ve been inside.
At home, at night
I dream of lobsters
still uncaught –
their armour frayed,
forming.

Cairistiona Clark

About Cairistiona Clark

Cairistiona Clark is a poet and writer, and also a fisheries scientist. Her poems have been published in yolk, antilang, Sewer Lid, and Fog Lit. She was a mentored in the Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program with the Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia, attended the Emerging Writers Intensive at the Banff Centre, and graduated from the Humber School for Writers. She lives in southwest New Brunswick on the unceded territory of the Peskotomuhkati people. You can find her on Instagram @cairistiona.clark, on Twitter @cairistiona_c, and at cairistionaclark.com.

About Art Marée Haute

Art Marée Haute is a Halifax artist studio that reclaims used rope from the lobster and crab fisheries and transforms it into functional yet whimsical works of art. Among these are mats, baskets, celtic knots, and wall/floor decor. The studio was born of a need to find a creative outlet for two life-long friends who deemed running outdoors in January too miserable. "On one such run we saw a woven rug in a shop window and we were inspired to try our hand at mat-making!" So, with rope scavenged from Nicole's brother, a lobster harvester in Cape Breton, and a name that paid homage to the artists' Acadian roots and love of the ocean, a new venture was established. Today rope is mostly donated by Alexi, the fabulous brother, as well as fishers in Ketch Harbour and Peggy's Cove. The artists are both passionate about the environment and are proud to be redirecting plastic rope away from the landfill. "We've probably reclaimed over a thousand pounds of rope and we hope that we can keep more of it out of the environment." Our products can be viewed on our Facebook page and donations of rope are always welcome!

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