• Caren

yesterday's dinner


"That one," my mom said, and pointed at a fish swimming a little away from the rest, its mouth opening and closing silently, its fins feathering gently.

The guy picked up a big green net and dipped it into the tank. The fish when he lifted it out of the water made a U against the bottom of the net. The guy reached in and grabbed it, all slippery and shiny, and whacked it hard against the edge of the sink. Then he scraped off the scales with a few hard strokes of a knife, snipped off the fins, slit the belly, and pulled out the insides in one stringy, glistening mess. He rinsed everything with the hanging sprayer. He dropped the fish in a plastic bag, twisted it, stuck the price sticker onto the bag, wrapped the whole deal up in another bag, and handed it to me. And that was it.

All the other fish in the tank were still there, unperturbed. They fluttered their fins to stay upright.

The line between dead and alive, the difference between mattering and being moot.

I know. That's not a complete sentence.