Will Gatti & Daniel Finn




Screen Shot 2019-09-02 at 18.05.55I thought my dad was crabby when he hurt his back, crabbing along with a stick in his hand. Cross and crabby he was. But then I went crabbing…


My face wavering in the glassy water, where I can see a shadow world of weeds and stones and the string I’m holding bending a little in the current, the tide easing up to full, and the bait trundling a few inches this way and then back again; and over there, two black dot eyes, stalked up, watching; a claw waving, legs scuttling out and then back, out, and then back, sidling, crabwise, shell like a bronze age shield. I’d call him Ajax but he might be a girl crab. I’ll call the crab Ajax anyway. Why not? Shy as a crab, there’s a thought.

I jiggle the bait. A little lump of fatty bacon.

Here she comes, bold and shy, dancing in the sand-light current, slipping through copper-coloured weed. Six steps this way, six steps that. Claws open and ready…

A swift tug on the line. Bait gripped tight. She’ll never let go, even if I hauled in the line, she’d hang on till I plopped her in bucket. Then I could watch her suddenly all alone in a bare, bright yellow world… Perhaps she’d be crabby like my dad then.  Yanked away from home, I wouldn’t blame her.

I let go.

The string drifts slow and snakey down to the sea floor, and Ajax hurries her catch back into the weed forest, to her shadowy under-rock home, where she’ll be




eyes on stalks,

armour plated.



I’ll tell dad to get a shield for his back.