Poetry at Sangam



HOW TO CUT A FISH by Nitoo Das

you have to sit
woman-like on the floor
put         one foot
strongly gingerly
on the base of the blade
hold the fish with firm hands
head and tail       and swing
him quick leftrightleftright
to remove the scales check
beneath the gills red fans
cut them swift and
then fins here there up down
and tail
feel that perfect line
where the head ends and the body
begins choose it fine and move
slow over the edge
feel the resistance of white flesh staring eye
and open mouth but keep at it let him feel the pressure
of your fingers until it is done and the head sits isolated with a hole
dripping with stuff and then halve
him down his body and pull out the red mess
make equal pieces cutting him so that
the bones do not disturb

(First published: Boki, VAC, September 2008)