VICTORIA LYNNE MCCOY
What if I’m good at it?
The hook and gut.
The easy sleep. Can the animal in me kill
the animal I will not eat?
I’ve managed to keep my palms
clean of god this long. Turned down
every sweet boy with a skeet gun.
If, by name, I’ve got a finger made
to place a ring on, is another fit to slip
around a trigger, slither down the middle
of a knife’s cold spine? Today, I take the fish
in a pair of hands that until now
I recognized as mine, unhook metal
from puncture wound, its fins bristling
in my grip as life struggles out of it.
I watch the thrashing thing fight the bucket
until it is still. I can’t tell
if something was lost in me or
uncovered the moment I knew I wouldn’t
throw it back, the strange beauty, death
slow-dancing through its little fish organs.
My love applauds me. Slices through the live bait
with a thumbnail, takes my hands in his proudly,
even knowing what they’re capable of.
116 The Paris-American
Victoria Lynne McCoy's work has appeared or is forthcoming in Drunken Boat, Best New Poets 2012, Boxcar Poetry Review, and PANK, among others. A Southern California native, she earned her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and currently works for Four Way Books in NYC. She is also a member of The louderARTS Project and is the poetry editor of Four Way Review.
Next week's poet:
Miriam Bird Greenberg