“Shrimp Hearts Are in Their Heads” by Emerson Davis-Martin

Emerson Davis-Martin (age 14)


My mom told me last night
a shrimp’s heart lives
in its head.
You’re the same way,
she says stroking my hair.

Small prawns shuffle
as they carry coral abdomens.
Long antennae graze the ocean floor,
cloudy eyes like fogged mirrors.

Two sides wade in treacherous waters,
I stand in the middle,
a tug of war.

I search for my mom,
my head pounding,
blood boiling like molten lava.
As I tread across the wet sand,
it weighs down my feet,
sticking to my shell-like glue.

I watch as oxygen sways
through the water
like wind shuffles leaves.
My body quivers from the cold.

I have two options
and I can’t find my mom.
I have two options.

I turn right.

from 2020 Rattle Young Poets Anthology


Why do you like to write poetry?

Emerson Davis-Martin: “I like to write poetry because it is a way to express myself. Growing up, I have tried to find different ways to show people who I really am as a person. I have tried singing and writing my own songs, and I tried playing the violin, but none of those things ever felt right to me. My mom is a writer and introduced me to poetry. I started writing at a time when I truly needed an outlet, and I continue writing to help me figure out who I am today.”

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