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Disgusting Animal Things

* Kristie Kachler *

“Do shrimps make good mothers? Yes, they do.” This is such a weird line. It feels like the turn in a sonnet that isn’t a sonnet, more specifically known as Denise Riley’s “A Misremembered Lyric.” After some very human and fretful missing/not-missing of a thing, this line comes as a complete interruption, a pause and pivot in the work of losing and forgetting and their opposites. I don’t want to work out a reading of the poem here, to worry the line and test what it’s doing. For this post, I just want to point out that a quick Facebook message to a marine biologist who almost wrote a dissertation on shrimp sociality will reveal that “there are thousands(!) of shrimp species, and each have evolved varying degrees of parental care. This can range from laying eggs and moving on with life, to living in a multigenerational colony.” So, now we deduce that if “shrimps” make good mothers then all species must make good mothers insofar as they survive?