“Salad Shrimp” by Kerry Rutherford

Kerry Rutherford


Sometimes my panties smell like the sea,
specifically like salad shrimp. The best 
small variety is fresh from Oregon,

but the larger Canadian salad shrimp, 
when you can get it, is fantastic!
So like I said, my panties—is it the 

primordial soup, that we all came 
from, dripping out a smidgen at a time,
reminding me that something ancient

wants out, wants to crawl on its front legs, 
dragging its fishtail behind it, looking left, 
then right, thinking: what the hell 

happened here? 

from Rattle #74, Winter 2021


Kerry Rutherford: “One of my earliest memories was in a tree above a cranberry bog on the 20 acres surrounding my parents’ rented house, throwing balled-up Wonder dough to my dog, Pudgy. I was confident that when I grew up he would turn into a prince and we would marry, but that was only the first of many times my imagination betrayed me. He was killed by a car when I was 13 and almost immediately my hormones kicked in and I turned to my own species for comfort—and I turned to poetry in an attempt to process my complicated and confusing relationship with humans during my years of drifting around the planet, being a single mom for 20 years, and completing my MFA in creative writing in my 70s. Now gray-haired and slow moving, I still have a picture of Pudgy on my desk.”

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