I am sick. As the matted cat that glares

through one half-gummed eye,

crouching in its pain beyond the lure

of fish guts putrefying fast

in the heat on the harbour;

where hulking machines bristling against

the edge of land unload the last inhabitants

of the sea’s belly they scooped out in nets,

furled now like plastic shrouds on decks of death.

Last feeble flaps on the homemade slabs of the vendors

beat out the ebbing of life at the morning tide;

scum-coated litter bearer.

The tourists delight at the hustle of life

at this continent’s brink. Noise, colour and stink.

Cat’s squinted eye sees through the masque

of death for means to grasp at the earth’s skin

for another ride. Worms abide in his dying insides.

I too host a worm that flew,

like Blake’s, through the dark and rain and grew.

I close my eyes.

Seeking the red interior-

where hot wind and sands can raze and scorch

to bleached hardness under endless skies.

~ Polly Oliver (2016)

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3 thoughts on “Fish market 

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