Ode to Gutting a Fish Grace Clement
The knife slides through the body like a sailboat rudder through water. The dead flesh spits scales like small children spit pomegranate seeds in the city summer.
I hold the fish by its tail, gently flipping it to expose the fragile pink stomach which once moved up and down with life. I reluctantly bring my knife down upon it, leave a thin, red trail—a zipper upon the surface of the departed.
Then, as if opening an envelope, I pry my thumb and forefinger between the two halves of the formerly-living. I extract the intestines: worm-like, pink. The heart is small like a raisin, the size of my eye—deflated, detached, unwilling.
The fish, now an empty husk. After I put the meat in the freezer, I empty the leftovers into the sea for a proper send off. The ocean created it, and the ocean will see it out.