She lived, for a time

on the fish she caught

bathing thin fillets

in cornmeal flour

from her stores

pan fried them until the

spongey, translucent flesh

transformed to flaky snow

white beneath the

crust of batter


When she had first arrived

the fillets had been crudely cut 

inexperienced severing


of muscles


and organs

But she became more adept

with task and fish

as time passed

her hand grew steadier as

it repeatedly guided the knife

began to understand better

the unspoken rules

of their anatomy 

combed through

the architecture

of these creatures

with her blade

so often that it became easy

nearly instinctual


There had been a time when

she had known another’s body

in this intimate way

memorized the baroque design

of flesh above knees and elbows

become accustomed to

the sway of back

curve of neck

lived for long moments

among the ladder of ribs

and notched column of spine


But she was forgetting that terrain


time was allowing

that slow

gradual reprieve

She had become

obsessed with fish

and the infinite intricacies

of learning how they

lived and died


She didn’t have much use

for other people now


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