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MUSED Literary Magazine.

Blue Gills

Jeff Burt

Before the splay of flour dusting
the air, like talc from the hands
of a boxer, before the iron frying
pan catches the blue gills
after the rusty rooster
on the dishtowel had patted them
with feathered concern,

the heads had been buried
by the pole beans and guts
by the squash in broad daylight
because father didnít believe
in ceremonies by moonlight,

the scales had done what scales do
when meeting with a scaling knife,
transformed to spinning prisms
flying over the backyard grass,
each shiny coin of a lakeís currency
a call to a neighboring cat to wonder
how to cash it in for the portion
it had been attached to.

The dog had danced and sniffed
our pants, our hands smelled
of metal lures and gasoline,
the shovel that aided the pre-dawn
capture of night crawlers
flashlit and writhing in dirt
black as tar on the beams of the bridge.
When the guts dropped out
we held our noses and ran around the house
noticing by the cutting stump
the dog drawing steadily closer.