Thursday, June 10, 2021

Rainbow Trout by D. Walsh Gilbert

          —Pierre-Auguste Renoir (France) 1841-1919

Lined up on banks of cracked ice shoveled
by the fish monger dressed in rubber
boots and a canvas apron, rainbow trout
lie emptied—boneless—butterflied
as if they were crucified, fins splayed,
hearts torn out by the carver’s fingers.
He says, These. Past due—to be discarded.

I beg for two, or three, or four, please,
and watch him fold one body half
onto another and so return their dignity
as fish, and in the glint of Whole
Foods’ light—their eyes—their rainbow—
the pink stripe gill to tail is unmistakable.

Gloved hands poise to scrape scale against
scale, his knife ready to dismember
pectoral, dorsal, caudal fins now still, but
they’ll need these spines when I slip
the pair or two back into Purgatory Brook,
rain swollen rush among the trillium
and river scree where a hibernating bear
and her two cubs just woke,
where the raccoon, the possum and her brood
survive. No—leave them closest to alive.

D. Walsh Gilbert is the author of Ransom (Grayson Books). A Pushcart nominee, she recently won The Ekphrastic Review’s “Bird Watching” contest. Her work is forthcoming in The Dillydoun Review and recently appeared in the anthology, Waking Up to the Earth. She is co-editor of the Connecticut River Review.

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