Black Robin

The small of her back pressed
to the kitchen sink, she
pauses
in her graceful work of gutting fish
She lights a cigarette with
a wooden match from the
cluttered windowsill and
breathes smoke
like a Chinese dragon
from a take-out menu,
red-inked
As loose scales stick to her spiny
fingers, catching light    catching
my eyes    hooking
She tells me about black robins
says the word extinction with
dusky emphasis, a twist of lip
explains how human efforts at
conservation
are amounting to genetic
sabotage
And then its on to wooden shoes
the sabot in the machine
as she tosses a fish head
to a nameless cat
She doesnt believe in naming animals
But she calls every one of them
he or she, never it

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