How to gut a fish written by John Lopes at

How To Gut A Fish

How to gut a fish

written by: John Lopes



Sharpen the knife by whetstone,
walk to the shore, hold the blade
perpendicular to the fat belly
blanketed with tiny mirrors glinting
sun into your eyes

Find the bridge decorated in promise locks
cast a net,
prime your tongue
squeeze air from your lungs into
gurgling words decorating her ears,
be impossible
be the everything
lock yourself inside as a habit
as the indispensable limb

Scrape scales with the cutting edge,
send them flying in the air
landing like lily-pads
breaking the surface of salt-water

Touch your roughest hand to the softest
palette of the face with knuckles
first tenderly like a mother
and then violate in flight,
land harshly
crush the rosy palette into a
cacophony of betrayal on the
cheek, corrupt the soft curve of the lip
decorate the chest in crimson,
cut out trust from deep inside her

Wash the memory in a white tub
kissed by carmine, let it flow down the
hypnotizing hurricane drain
through hair-matted pipes.
His after-shave knuckle tenderness
will perfume the steam,
permeate your memories
make home deep inside capillaries

Wash the fish in the Atlantic – let it
kiss its forehead, puncture the gut
with the murder end, pull back,
let crimson blood and iron
perfume spill in globules onto emptying
tides washing out to sea

Dawn crab will come to the shallows,
eat the scraps with their pincers.
In the morning gulls recognize backs
hunched over by the water, swoop down

Pull out the curved hook from your cheek
dragging you in matrimony
drop the shredded robe of sinew and worth,
leave the tatters on the bathroom floor

Go to her in the evening
sew the pretty back together into a quilt,
stain it with bloody knuckles and
kiss her goodnight into resentment

Others will come into your life,
one will recognize the perpetual
circling in the epicentre,
swing prayers into your centrifuge of
consequence and
pull out the spears from
your chest, mend broken hopes
straighten the shattered
bones into a home indispensable to him
and show you simply, Love

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