The crabs have got up in the redwood trees again.
I thought it was a wives’ tale
until I saw them scrabbling up the trunks,
using their claws like mountaineering gear.
They’re easy to spot, once they settle,
orange shells glowing like embers in the deep green.
I’ve heard it happens every year about this time,
something to do with red tides, big winds, scant rainfall,
mermaids’ whispered enchantments,
or some other thing we all pretend to understand.

Susan Wolbarst works as a newspaper reporter in rural Gualala, California. Her writing has been published in “,” “,” “Naugatuck River Review,” “The Christian Science Monitor,” and others. She self-published one cookbook. She enjoys messing around in kayaks and cooking the world’s recipes in her three cast iron pans.