Martha Silano



Freshwater Mussels of the Upper Midwest

Heelsplitter, Pigtoe, Higgins Eye:
the names say almost as much

about the namers as these creatures
clinging to pilings. Little Spectaclecase,

Fatmucket, Pistolgrip: who says Joe
wouldn’t know poetry if it slammed him

on the foot? Deertoe, Hickorynut, Pimpleback:
69% imperiled (don’t blame the namers, blame

sediments, logging, run-off. Invaders displacing
natives). Elktoe, Snuffbox, Purple Wartyback,

Fawnsfoot, Rainbow: I did not know their larvae
attach to the gills of a host. Neglected to consider

the fulgent brains of those unschooled in verse.


Photo Credit: Lexi Clarke