Zebra Mussels at Lake Charlevoix
By Mary Ardery
I turned inward as Indiana hills and cornfields transformed
into a blur of Michigan cherry orchards and skinny pines.
Nine hours with Mom, Dad, and two older sisters who preferred
music to talking. At the cabin, Cousin Sarah was eager to play.
All day we hauled treasures from the fresh water: bucket
after colorful bucket of zebra mussels. We pried them open
with our small fingers to collect the oozing reward—
the invasive species’ inedible meat. Such viscosity was kept
like a secret inside those striped shells known to slice soles
if one day you forgot your water shoes. It was an early study
of exterior vs. interior: a casing that draws blood
but when cracked the right way, yields to something delicate.
Mary Ardery holds a BA in English Writing from DePauw University. After living and working in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville, North Carolina for two years, she has returned home to the Midwest to pursue her MFA at Southern Illinois University. Visit maryardery.com to see more of her work.
Featured image courtesy, Mary Ardery.