by | January 5, 2020

My little eyes are whittled wide. They slip through clouded water, sleekly oiled, starved of tide, to find the feinting fish. My whetted nets will drip with jewels that dart and dive at every angle.

I need to strip them of their silver-plated scales, roam like a fishing hook to every fissure, nook, and glib oesophagus, or jab my digits into golden gills until they’re mangled.

The fish are opalescent, like light fired through a prism – like sun on a shard of mirror, or the way that melting asphalt gleams and glimmers. I must harvest the pit-stone pupils of eyes that are not almond-shaped like mine, but spherical and spangled.

Its guts could be studded with precious stones – if so, I’ll shake it till they jangle; jockey and jostle so it coughs them loose and chokes. Then, I’ll pick them out from where they dangle.

But it’s devoid of drive and dazzle, barely breathing, its tender tendons hemmed with plastic gems and frazzled entrails, haemorrhaged and heaving, so I hold it to the sky to see it struggle as it’s strangled.

I’ve strummed the strings of its shiny spine until they’re meek and marred, and the sound of sinew snapping’s hot and hard to handle. It heaves with styrene pieces, cleaved by PVC debris, bright-dyed like bags of sweets. I’m thinking queasily how easily its offal disentangled.

Its skeleton’s slats are slotted with nicotine stubs; they’ve slipped out from the stomach where they skulk unseen, neat nubs stuffed in like smashed terrine, all trod and trampled. I could take its flinching litter-tinted fins and wear them round my wrists, like a burden, like a bangle.

I slice it, slit it, splice it on a spit. It thrashes, all slashed through with dregs-dreck dashes. I waver, then I watch it writhe and wrangle.∎

Words by Annabelle Fuller. Art by Léa Gayer de Mena.