Chavisa Woods


Mermaid


At eleven she knew how to clean a fish.
She also knew that fish never really come clean
so the task is endless
and term meaningless.
Still, she knew how to get it done.

She knew where to position the hammer,
which direction to pull the knife,
how to flip open the sliced stomach, finger the bone,
and yank.

She knew how to clean the wretch from her hands.
but like the task, and thorough uncleanliness of fish,
the smell was endless
wafting into next days fresh bucket.

At some point she stopped noticing.
Even thought it might be her natural scent,
since he told her she had her own endless fish,
and the same man who told her that came regularly to clean it.

She wished it would stay dead.
but he found new life each time,
slipping fingers between small flaps of sliced skin
and yanking where no bone was found.
Another endless task
she knew how to get done,

How to flop, belly down,
and keep her eyes from bulging,
even knew how to swim it away on a little wave,
so he retreated back into himself.

She did not complain.
even fantasized, some days,
that it must be her sacred duty- her birthright,
and no one else would be fit

to pluck from watery bucket
and dash the silver brains out
of her many, gasping lives.

Submitted: Tuesday, March 11, 2008

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