Manta Ray


In Kensington Market
between the greengrocer's
truck, bottomed out
with over-ripe pineapples
and the cheeseman's
bagel-steamed front,
the fishmonger's boy
carries it
arm's-length from his chest
stacked onto milk crates
while a crowd gathers.

An odd cross between a shark
and homeplate,
the supple razor of its tail
coiled in broken mangoes.
A hacksaw grin
that widens as rigor mortis sets in
and the grey skin buckles and dries.
The eyes pale sunken figs
that the wasps warm to
where someone inserted–
one bent forward,
another tilted outward
–red horns of pimento.

Oh love,
to think once I saw you
feathered and vain.
How you loved a crowd,
the flash of your teeth.
No bird
but second cousin to a shark.


Bruce Hunter, Two O'Clock Creek: Poems New and Selected, Oolichan Books, 2010.