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 As if it had not clung spineless
moments before to its glass tomb of saltwater,
as if it had not just slid backwards
on this table smeared with fish guts,
the squid's front-half lies open like an envelope
spilling its bile, its back-half rising
on its tentacles as if to say--look at me,
the grieving parent of its nervous system
refusing to let go of the body. And because
they have been taught that death means no more
gliding, and because they believe that death
is silent as fishhooks, here's where children look
away as the bottom-half of the squid waltzes
beneath the fish market's phosphorescent light,
the chef's white glove oozing while his knife
shakes from the corner--and I'm taken then
back to the night my mother's wet hair
wrapped around the cutlery of a man's fingers
in a parking lot outside of Jackson, the Kmart's carmine
lettering lighting the inside of his smoked-out Volvo,
and I'm taken then back to that night of endless
writhing as the dim red light spilled over our bodies
in that house built seemingly of windows,
in that bedroom where anyone could look
as you gutted and deveined and held me
in your palm so deftly I danced as the knife
scraped against my cephalopod heart,
and you left and I could not move.
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Author:Martin, Joshua
Publication:The Carolina Quarterly
Article Type:Poem
Date:Mar 22, 2019
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