Fish Market written by Polly Oliver at

Fish Market

Fish Market

written by: Polly Oliver



I am sick. As the matted cat that glares
through one half-gummed eye
crouching in its pain beyond the lure
of fish guts putrefying fast
in the heat on the harbour;
where hulking machines bristling against
the edge of land unload the last inhabitants
of the sea’s belly they scooped out in nets,
furled now like plastic shrouds on decks of death.

Last feeble flaps on the homemade slabs of the vendors
beat out the ebbing of life at the morning tide;
scum-coated litter bearer.
The tourists delight at the hustle of life
at this continent’s brink. Noise, colour and stink.
Cat’s squinted eye sees through the masque
of death for means to grasp at the earth’s skin
for another ride. Worms abide in his dying insides.

I too host a worm that flew,
like Blake’s, through the dark and rain and grew.
I close my eyes.
Seeking the red interior-
where hot wind and sands raze and scorch
to bleached hardness under endless skies.

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