Grandma Used to Dress Catfish
by Kenneth Hada

Grandma used to dress catfish,
that's how she said it.
Her large calloused hands gripped
pliers and the head
and pulled tightly in opposite directions
until the skin grudgingly yielded
to her strength.
Then she grabbed her butcher knife,
the one she used to dress chickens,
that's how she said it,
and slit the belly
and circumspectly fingered out entrails
under a running spigot
before she finally chopped off the head.
Those virile hands of death held
the slippery victims softly, firmly,
those same hands that touched
my fevered forehead,
patted my sunburned shoulders.

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