The Catch

You take me to the restaurant where one
plays God over a fish tank. The fat trout
pace their green cage, waiting to be taken
out of an element. Who knows what they know?
There are thirteen in a tank meant
for goldfish. I don¹t care which one I eat.

But the waiter expects a performance,
con brio. This is a ritual
solemn as wine-tasting or the Last Judgement.
Eating is never so simple as hunger.
Between the appetite and its satisfaction
falls the net, groping blindly in dark water.

The fish startle and thrash. You make your catch,
flourishing a bit for the waiter
so as not to be thought a peasant. You force
air into the trout's gills as if he were Adam,
and send him squirming toward the kitchen
to be born. Then it's my turn. I surprise

myself with my dexterity, almost
enjoying the game. A liter of wine
later, the fish return, foppishly dressed
in mushrooms and pimentos, their eyes
dreamily hazed. Darling, I am drunk. I watch you pluck

the trout's ribs out of your perfect teeth.

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