Fishmarket, Seattle
Jesse Breite

The headless slabs fin over each other.
Scales emit rainbowed shimmers.
Boys in fish-skirts shuffle limbed
parts, toss weighted sea-pulp, yelp
with muscled voices. They push watery
gill-suck across the cemented ground,
mount crab legs like crowns, pile
prawns in heaps, split open fan-tails
of lobsters. We come to buy the stink
they peddle, slathered with human sweat:
freshly wet, barnacled, still-eyed—
nuzzled in ice pellets. They’ve traded
this way for a thousand years, netting
what floats thick in the ocean’s slurp.

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