The Symmetry of Fish

The head of the fish thuds
into the kitchen sink

with a splash of lettuced water.
She says, Not this. Don’t

marry the head or anyone
too cunning.
She saws the knife

through the tail. The muscle
springs. Not a man

who doesn’t have a brain.
There’s no meat there.

As I walk through fish markets
lined with skinned goats,

their heads on the tables,
the finned bellies glisten under

the dusty sun, jutting
proudly blue and silver.

My mother’s voice asks me
if I understand, if I’ll resist

the smooth talk from the fish’s
mouth, his fanned tail swaying,

gifting a breeze on the back
of my neck. I prod the slick,

elastic skin, pierce him with two
fingers, and eat around the bones.

Su Cho