They’re clean, said the man
behind the counter; they’re gutted.
Meaning the gills had been taken out,
meaning he’d drawn with the tip
of his knife one swift incision and slit
from the anus all the way till the head
of the fish. You wonder what they did
with all the slick guts that spilled
out of their bellies, on whose grill
the long floppy sac of roe will char
and sear. At your sink, you unwrap
the bodies from newsprint and see
they still wear their armor: there are some things
that don’t get taken away. They shimmer
like crushed gems you’d touch to your lips.