Pike Place Fish Market

This time a salmon
arcs in silver flight toward the fish man.
His one-armed catch feels casual,
a glimmer of surprise brushes his brows
as if this fish, this wily Coho
has leapt at him from the ice.

A young boy in bloody apron and tall
rubber boots rakes the clam shells,
sorts scallops, and flops the large-
jawed fish with the wild eyes
behind the counter.
A child who has bent too close to the wiggle
shrieks and darts away, and the crowd chuckles
at another sucker.

Shrimp and snapper,
spiny rockfish and lobster
land their flights and meat
in paper wrappings.
Gills and shiny scales gleam
on ice chips; the air is salt
and wet wind, fresh Pacific harvest.
Three pounds of oysters, rough mussel buckets,
a thirty inch Steelhead,
all airborne and tied in brown string
by the man with the tentative beard
and a clean, quick knife.
This is dinner, Seattle.

Onlookers root to the slick floor,
pulling green bills from their wallets
for a display of their own
sea-steaks, mesmerized by the flights
of aqua born.

The fellowship is a wave,
a communion
of fish and flesh.
Even the jagged creature
with the staked-up mouth
grins in toothed amazement.