Where I Shop for Fish
Street merchants with carts packed with ice and fish
shout commandments at each other over the bustle of the crowd
channel God in the most scandalous of ways. Via conversation, they strip away
each other’s damaged pasts—secret love affairs, attempted suicides—
until no one in the marketplace is truly naked.
I pull my sleeves down to cover
the tiny “x”s meant to stop my breath, too long ago to count
past the happy-faces made with rusted cigarette lighter tops
past the circle of blue dots made with safety pins and India ink
in an attempt to hide my own past from the fishmonger priests.
The newspapers the fish come wrapped in
prophesy either war or salvation, feast or obliteration
depending on which vender you buy the fish from
depending of what type of fish you buy. The small, flat sunfish I pick out
are handed to me, collectively wrapped, in pages from the Book of John
a picture of a small, pale boy with bat ears and vampire fangs on top.

           The Spider in the Windowsill
It’s tempting to just squish it outright but you should first
pull off a leg, then another. First an arachnid
then an arthropod then a quadruped then a biped. Does
the level of intelligence and/sophistication increase or decrease
with each removed limb? How about if you
put a hat on the tiny, flailing insect,
give it a cane, make it dance on its two remaining legs
as it fumbles its way to death?
What happens if you remove all the legs
from one side, but leave the other intact?
does it run around and around
in a circle like a cartoon character,
a teeny tiny motorcar? Now what happens
when you give it a hat, a cane,
from the first exercise?


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