Stefanie Kirby

Pacific Diptych

When I ask you to bludgeon the fish
I’ve caught—a mistake, I realize too late—
I learn a good death is swift and possibly
unaware. It squirms on the first blow. The second
brings out an eye. A marble that’s onyx and amber
and lovely and lost. I see it shimmer like lake water
that yearns for deep cool. Only I am afraid
of the third blow. The one-eyed wonder lies still, bony
and mild. There will not be enough flesh to keep,
not enough left to feed us both.

Violence is required to consume the flesh
of a crab. Tools for ease: a mallet to ripple the shell
into living veins. A firm hand, to pry the quarters
apart. I’ll find the gills deflated, imagine
their leftover pulse like flightless wings.
Feather thin, pliable. I’m told you’re boiled
alive, blue bronze seeping from your legs
and heart. I’ll eat you while cooling
and tell myself
there is justice in this.