How Not to Clean a Fish

How do you, when you are the hunt, turn the hunt in?
Like a landslide, I am the color of what I push around
You say sea sick. I stay
landsick with the rest of them
What do swans eat in winter?
There is nothing else in the natural world shaped
like a hand
Based on the hundreds of fish I’ve interviewed
You signed that away to me, you know
Today I was told
Subjective tinnitus is a phantom auditory sensation
like cicadas or grinding steel, winds or escaping steam

Can I opt to hear that chosen chorus?
You never hurt me
but you stand far enough away
to let the world hurt me on her own
I am not a hurting God, not cruel
I don’t want to live behind a collection of knives
in your eyes,
or anyone’s
Today I was told
Vertigo is an inappropriate sense of dizziness
What is appropriate?
You signed that away to me, you know
Wake up with snakebites on my hips
Bone bleeds a lot. You are servant
of my summer
Today I was told
A ‘brui’ is the sound of blood rushing around a blockage
A ‘thrill’ is what it feels like under your hands

On the table I felt bloodier, purple-red and gritty
You stand between me and the true garden, dressed
in white
Which one of us is the swan in this situation?
In rushes with the relics
of our past attempts to ration
Today I was told
“Pain is the prayer of the bone for better blood”
You threw the fish back in the lake
It’s called a thrill in your hands

Alisha Bruton lives in Portland, OR, where she is in medical school. She has been published in the Diagram, Burnside Review, Portland Review, Ampersand, Swine, and elsewhere. She is belligerently happy with her life.