Willie L. Kinard III is a graphic designer, art director and writer currently talking to the Moon in Newberry, South Carolina. Black, queer & old-souled, he serves as a founding editor of For The Scribes. His first chapbook, chroma., was released spring of 2016.
There ain't but two ways to clean a fish:
Head first, lick the scales off it with a spoon.
Body first, felt up before one leg goes numb,
one mind screams out for lip balm.
Blowing bubbles in milk ain't supposed
to be like playing violin with the nerve;
You're supposed to make room for
the air to warm, for the skin to fall off,
for the hope to thirst and beg for water,
and to wipe the froth from your lip
after either puncture.
This piece originated as a scene from my childhood, of summers spent fishing and eavesdropping on conversations I may have been too young to hear. Meditating on these coded talks from the femmes that raised me, cleaning catfish became a visual metaphor of intimacy. Touch as soft, yet firm power, pain as pleasure by way of climax.