Less Wonder


I was never taught how

to properly gut a fish, only told

to place them in a dry bucket


I’d watch as they’d thrash

and choke on air. Which knife

should I choose and where do I make


the first incision. At what angle

do I groove through her bones

Spoon her eyes with a bloodied finger


or freeze under their dying stare

When cutting her fins, should

I repurpose them into origami


cranes, turtles or fish. I could believe

her guts dye blue or green or black

depending on where you hook her


Do her scales singe at human touch

or hush like paintbrush hairs

Would you say I’m a gutless wonder


I cried when Dad called me that

He yelled to hold the yellow herring

high for a photo. I knew I could not


touch something I had killed

I wouldn’t know what to keep or toss

I want to throw some of it back


I want to throw all of her back.





first published by Voiceworks in their issue 121, “Root” published in Jan, 2021

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