Poem for today: "Ablution," by Holly Hughes

In the midst of the pellmell, let us pause.

Thanks to Claudia.

From the trolling cockpit
I watch you rise
like a prayer to the surface
pull you from the sea
slide the hook from your jaw
your silver body in my hands
gasping in the shock of air.
I lay the bowing arc of you
on the plywood table
to be cleaned.
The cannery says I must bleed
you while you’re still alive.
I slice an artery
your blood pools
thick and red on deck
slit your long white belly
pull out your lumionous organs
heavy with herring
stroke your scales —
ask forgiveness —
sluice your belly with sea water
until your bones glisten
white and startled
against pink flesh and
the water runs red
but your body knows
still what to do
how to move in the bright water.
Down I lay you on the wet deck
empty and shining
and the wing of your tail
strokes the wood
as you swim away
into air
a silver river
of memory
for the sea.
— Holly Hughes
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1 Response to Poem for today: "Ablution," by Holly Hughes

  1. Pamela says:

    And a reminder that humans do not need to eat flesh protein to survive.

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