The Businessman Cleans a Mermaid for His Supper

By Michael Derrick Hudson

Yeah I snagged her, I snagged her good and then I shucked her
out of her shimmy, killed off that last twitch

of hers in the sink. And those labials, all of her wet slobbery

labials I reduced to a dried-out oxygen-starved O. I flensed
her down to the bone and chopped

away her emerald green flukes. I got wet to the elbows in her
and scraped at her dime-sized translucent scales

until they spangled the tops of my greasy boots
and clogged the drains. But her filets were worth it, redolent

of ambergris with a tincture of seaweed. In her eyes I found

tiny discs of abalone, the secret of their weird yellowish glint
like a cat’s in poor light. And then I brought her

to a resinous sizzle. But what a fight! Such fabulous breaches

How she resisted my hooks and gaffs, the vast tangle and bulge
of my nets. She couldn’t believe the multitude

of knots I’d mastered or these chains and rudders and screws or
my hand-over fist desires and

the way I whistled at my work. Or my inevitable appetite . . .


Michael Derrick Hudson lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  His poems have appeared in Poetry, Boulevard, Columbia, Fugue, Georgia Review, Gulf Coast, Triggerfish Critical Review and Washington Square.   He was co-winner of the 2014 Manchester Poetry Prize.  His poems won The Madison Review 2009 Phyllis Smart Young Prize, River Styx 2009 International Poetry Contest, and the 2010 and 2013 New Ohio Review contests. 

Originally published in NOR 8

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