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Pentamorous Symmetry

'Sea Lady,' by Lawrence Carradini

Poets say they litter the sea floor like stars fallen to Earth, still crimson from their fiery brush with the atmosphere.

The oyster farmer, however, knows no such metaphor and cuts those stars in half to die, but one instead perseveres.

Patient and slow, Asteroidea, finds his way through ocean depths, none the worse for being half of what he once was whole.

But on his long journey, he comes to regard himself a mere part, until in wandering he finds - her - perched upon the shoal.

Feeling along her delicate spiny skin, his caress takes hours, exploring each of the five arms of her pentamorous symmetry.

Then, to his eventual surprise, fondling the lime latticework of her form, the inquisitive tube feet encounter a mystery.

A scar bissects her plump body, jagged, speaking of haste and knives, and mirrors his own encounter with danger.

It makes him wonder: Would he recognize himself now complete,

or would he find in his other half the embrace of a stranger?