Holly Day

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.

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