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The Gutting

My father hauled a dead sea turtle from a beach in the Florida Keys he coveted that shell. I was not allowed to watch, but I tried to see my father over the dunes sand spurs in my feet I pushed upward over gentle curves of sand to see the gutting of that sea turtle wondering how life was removed. Flies everywhere, do they kettle or simply swarm over death? I did not know I was too young. The angles of my father’s wrist — he held the knife his bones and tendons rippling under his skin cutting, and cutting scraping flesh from shell finalizing death. My father worked for hours in the Florida sun I watched, and watch to understand this man, I’d never seen so violent and destructive. My father never divorced my mother, but she left him, he left her the chaotic kettling cycle of a relationship: One would return, then the other only to repeat: leave – return – leave… cutting words sharp angular words. That shell hung on our wall for years seeming to decay with the marriage. There were no hills of sand to hide behind, only hollow doors no sand spurs to remind me that I had feelings no sounds of the ocean or seagulls to cover the gutting. I sold that shell to a neighbor kid for fifty cents. Previously published by Headline Poetry & Press 2019

Copyright © | Year Posted 2020




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Date: 2/16/2021 8:18:00 AM
Powerful. Raw. Awesome. A pleasure to find your poem published in the 2020 PS Anthology, Jeremy~ the parallel of the gutting and the marriage is superbly done. A FAVE for me.
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