Marissa Perez: “Shark Smile”





Shark Smile 

Saturday night out and
I swallow an oyster⸺
adductor muscle, pericardial cavity, party-streamer gills⸺
I have no intention of
consuming the shell, so
I leave it empty and
winking with the sheen of departed

How absence is also presence
with serrated teeth so
pretty they can be looped
around my summer-nipped
in beachfront gift shops⸺
from their host
when they puncture prey and
cannot tear the meat off

If I had been born with
a body that ended at my collarbones
and with a mouth
less sophisticated than
a bivalve’s
I would have never
been desired
only respected



About the Author: Marissa Perez is an undergraduate student from Massachusetts. She became the 97th recipient of the Glascock Poetry Prize in 2020 and has appeared in Huizache: The Magazine of Latino Literature.


Image Credit: Image from: Iconografia della fauna italica Roma: Tip. Salviucci,1832-1841. Courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

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