Self Portrait at the Fish Market, with Scales

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. 



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