FISHES FOR HER SUPPER
A sour smell, almost oily. She knew the fish' be up soon. That always made Old Nathan titter and snicker till her laughter echoed in splashes against the sides of the rowboat and set it rocking, a cradle in the sea's fumbling hands. She'd have to arch her thick torso over itself till the breasts clung to belly, arms to oarlocks; and think no tip, no tip. Damn them, she'd yell, and buckle her lips between a clenched jaw.
Those fish always told the damndest tales; and she'd never believe a word of them. They'd say how minnows chipped at whales till nothing was left but bones. And all the sea beasts gathered between rib and jaw to cackle and burble over the stingray who tried to make lines in the sea floor, calling herself an artist. Everyone looked down their gills and tentacles at her. Except the electric eel who zipped from tooth to tailfin preparing for flight, which he thought would come soon with enough speed and plankton.
Old Nathan let them yap, testing herself. But then the fish would invite her down for a visit. That's when she'd chop off their heads with one swipe of a kitchen knife. Fools. She thought fish more sensible than that. But it must be the bay, which was the only place she fished. And fish there daily she did.
Tamra Plotnick’s writing has been published in a variety of journals and anthologies, including: Atlantic Review; Burrow; The Midwest Review; and Global City Review: International Edition. Her memoir excerpt “Barbie and Gandhi Sitting in a Tree” appeared in The Coachella Review. In the Zero of Sky, her first poetry collection, has been accepted for publication by Assure Press. She has read and performed her work in multimedia shows at a range of venues in New York City, including La Mama Theater, Zinc Bar, KGB, and Cornelia Street Café. She has created and led workshops melding creative writing with movement, including dance forms such as samba, Afro-Caribbean, improvisation, and raqs sharqi. She teaches and lives in New York City with her family. For more details, please visit TamraPlotnick.net.