"As Much As We Do Ourselves" by Morgan Ridgway
It’s horseshoe crab season and the air is heavy
and the fossils are surfacing in droves
to bring their young into the world, small eggs
to be cracked open by even smaller legs
or the beaks of birds descending to feast.
The elders say that horseshoe crabs are like humans,
traveling the only way they know how, and I think
if only we treated each other like they did maybe
we would understand what it means to hold each other close.
I read once that mating only happens in the presence
of the sand in which they themselves were hatched
and I wonder if humans were like horseshoe crabs
if we would take care of the world better, like our lives
depended on it. I want us to depend on it, on a world
that cares for us as much as we do ourselves.
That the shorebirds swallowing buried eggs wouldn’t end
with loss, wouldn’t mean collapse or catastrophe.
That our life would be the life of every grain of sand
remembering who broke free from its depths
alive and gasping for breath.
Morgan L. Ridgway is a queer Black/Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape writer, dancer, and historian from Philadelphia, PA. They are currently completing a PhD in history thinking about gathering and care. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Querencia, Cabaret, and the Sacrilegious Salacious Zine by The Estuary Collective. They tweet @morgan_ridgway.