Illustration: silhouette of welcoming Mickey Mouse, obscured by oyster opened to black pearl

Sightings at the Pick-a-Pearl Market

The oysters wait
in stale watery inches
to be opened, prised.
They call it a pearl,
that grit of small hard truth
worrying the flesh,
a dun-colored thought
growing for months,
ripening into a tumor
of white wisdom.
And so, for $14.95
of top tourist dollars
the woman behind the counter
will slit their lips
with a shucking knife.
But it’s okay
because she’s not the one
who feels the stab of regret
and there’s always the ding
of a cash register,
money, changing hands.

Their mouths are open now
gray flesh torn,
shredded paper in the sea.

Jenny Wong is a writer, traveler, and occasional business analyst. She resides in the foothills of Alberta, Canada and is currently attempting a sci-fi poetry collection, Brazilian jiu jitsu, and electric skateboarding. Her publications include 3 Elements Literary Review, Grain Magazine, Vallum, NoD Magazine, Sheila-Na-Gig Online, The Stillwater Review, and elsewhere.

Oyster illustration by C.B. Auder (magazine collage, 9 x 7 inches).

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