After the Catch

J.B. Stone

—there was no release
                                    no parade
                                                lest one hallowed

for death’s rattle

a hook wedged to its gills
                                                                         a noose of steel wire

barbed through its nares

                                                the nape of it

it’s body sleeved of its vitals
                        to rip it’s jawline
                                    like a relentless tide
                                                smothering a valley
                                                            or flooding into towns

the thing about tides however,

                                                            tides don’t have intentions

                                                                        they just do as nature instructs

us. we smile
take part in the carnal
pageantry                               

                                                            sacrificing poor creatures to the false gods

of casual Sunday outings

I cried into my pillow that evening
tried to make it match the depth of the ocean I helped plunder
                                                               forging a body of water with an aqueduct streaming regret

left sleepless from the porgy we caught off the coast of Montauk,               

as I scaled, gutted, and filleted it
a moment that could make a father swell with pride,
                                                                              yet could make a son welt in guilt

I could still remember the saline in its eyes

the near-silent whimper that followed
the longing for mercy

hung below its navy blue lips
the fiery hue of fear

strung into the pearly twilight
of pitch black eyes

I remember the loss of color
in my own cheeks

as I watched the plea
washed across its face

a moment one can’t unsee;
a slipstream better left
                                                dammed
                                                            than revisited


J.B. Stone is a neurodivergent/autistic slam poet, writer and reviewer residing in Buffalo, NY. He is the author of A Place Between Expired Dreams And Renewed Nightmares (Ghost City Press 2018) and INHUMAN ELEGIES (Ghost City Press 2020). He is the Editor-In-Chief/Reviews Editor at Variety Pack. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Peach Mag, [PANK], Frontier Poetry, BlazeVOX, Buffalo News, Gravel and elsewhere.

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