Matador Review

A Quarterly Missive of Alternative Concern

Tara deal

open jaw


Conchs pile up
near the hut.
The cook pounds
flesh tender.

The recipe
is simple.

Conchs make a mountain of pink and yellow souvenirs.
The sea is easy

to believe.
Tourists pay
too much for dinner
and a show:

the boys who clean
the plates also shake

the stripped conchs
free of sand,
then hand them
what you want—

for a price,
but what price
for a piece
of island life?—
     pay what you think.

Discount all
the shells, whelks,
periwinkles, selves,
left behind—

     how we used to travel

          hard to tear oneself away

when conch was
short and sweet,

hand-written on the daily menu, regardless of availability.

Tara Deal is the author of, most recently, That Night Alive, winner of the 2016 novella prize from Miami University Press. Her poems have appeared in failbetter, Sugar House Review, Tampa Review Online and West Branch, among others. She lives in New York City.