Academic journal article Women's Studies Quarterly

My Woman Won't Make Me Catfish

Academic journal article Women's Studies Quarterly

My Woman Won't Make Me Catfish

Article excerpt

the deckhand

says they too ugly, the worst to dress.

I ask her, Can't you look away?

Maybe I look away and maybe I cut you.

She grabs my crotch, smiles her gap-toothed smile,

the one that lets me sleep nights on the steamboat.

The only other woman in my life is the crew cook.

Her hair is too short, and she eats while she cooks-

always greasy-looking.

She don't fool with any of our mess, takes a smoke

if we giving out but don't say nothing but Remember

I'm working and thinking of home just like you.

Dear God, may one of these women be near

when I need sewing up or take a bullet.

I watch the cook standing outside the kitchen door, knife

and pliers hooking a catfish mouth, snipping the tail off first.

Four slits down the sides, more like a gray sheet

than scales. Pull. Rips that skin right and quick

like a whole life. No start and stop. …

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