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36 the minnesota review Lynn Shoemaker Old Woman Selling A Fish I'm an old woman, no belly, breasts flat against my chest. Old at the end of the last war, what you can't forget. And I've seen other wars too. Put your camera down. You can't see anything through a piece of glass. Look at me. Yes, what do I have in my hands? A fish, a fish, a fish. Look at its softnest, its squirming. Red gills. Belly getting big, small, big again. Fresh and good-eating. Its tail bends to one side, arc in its spine. All through the war, whatever light, whatever muck there was in the water, made this fish, made this flipflap of its tail. Forget what some wild talker says about a fish so big you could never hold it in your arms. Forget what the priest says or even promises. Forget the government's big-dream fish plant, get-rich-forever lie. This fish noses the light that made it. With its mouth, with whiskers, it has mucked in the mud for food. Look here. Its flesh surrounds its bones even in its dying. Follow my fingers. You'll learn Shoemaker 37 to write all over again. The spine is neither beautiful nor ugly. Its slime is neither explosive nor deadly, deadly cold. Just right for a cooking pot. ***** Drop your hands down. There is no rifle, no dropping bombs here. Don't you see? The whole war was fought for this fish. If I stick my finger in its mouth, it bites. Its whiskers cut and draw blood, yours or mine. All your big words, rushing around, all your click-clicking frowns, and you don't see that. Look, it's not breathing any more. And still this light surrounds it. I won't say this fish forgives you. That's stupid. But don't you want to buy this fish? Take it home. Cook it. Then you and all your friend can eat. ...


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