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February 6, 2010 / Wendy Joan

Ode to a Nearly-Dead Fish

(from December)

I must confess

that when the young

black man with the short

dreadlocks cut you free from his nets

and you flopped closer

and closer to my feet

I did not think about throwing

you back in.

No, I was thinking instead

about your Chilean brethren,

the fillet of salmon

that I had just eaten in a salad for lunch.

I felt sick to my stomach.

Perhaps this is because

you were not a beautiful

fish from the Gulf of Mexico.

No, you were a pale,

slimy and solid fish from the Bradenton River,

and I looked away as you gasped

and twisted hoping to take

in your last breaths of air.

Tomorrow, I will walk past

the unemployed ‘fishermen’

and your dried scales will crunch under my feet

and I will smile at the newly-catched

fish and think of you.

Photo by mahalie


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