At The Chagalch'i Fish Market
by Brian Turner


Fish lie dead with their wingfins cut off, eyes
shot blood red from pressure, mouths
hinging open like some horn of morning
loud as a cold winter's sun. It's dawn
and I watch the pink and slickened
rubber-gloved fingers, a fishmonger smoothing
watery sheets over their silvery bodies.

Try forgetting the morgue doctor's gloved hands.
Bodies wheeled in on carts, eyes fully worlding,
mouths with kissings and angers and laughters
left for an embalmer's paletted tools, a line's thread
for sewing blued lips together, secretive,
lashes and lids sewn light silent shut. Forget.
Forget what dead your life has given.

And try not to lie down. For sleeping. For rest, here
among these fish, as I want to now, my mouth
snoring open at its hinges, my chest split wide
and my heart stripped out, steaming heat, eyes
glazed like suns in an horizon's smog, my mouth
emptied of words but still saying
what a lover could not fail to hear.






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