The Gar

The gar’s head was
to the cedar post,
its fearsome fangs in a long narrow snout
gnashing the open air
while it mouthed words I could not hear;
primordial truths
I should have feared to know.
My cousins and I stared and pointed,
mesmerized with unsympathizing disgust
as only boys can
when invincible with youth
and beholding Death’s grotesque sideshows.
My grandfather filleted its sleekly scaled body,
ribs and spine revealed
as the blood rinsed back to the lazy river
so not even its crimson scrawl would
stain Time
to remember.
What secrets did you speak to me,
What had I heard
from your tongueless mouth
while you died slowly,
an ornament and offering
to Decay?
Was what you breathlessly spoke
the beginning of the
of my faith
in gods and Man and mortal flesh?
Sometimes I dream your thoughts,
disembodied fish,
and my teeth gnash
and I cannot breathe,
enraged from fear
as I think of
Grandfather Time
gutting me
at his easy, unhurried leisure.
The image of you
as you spoke your moribund sermon
is nailed in my memory
and will never leave me
until fallible flesh
falls away
at long last.

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