Cleaning the Mermaid

What to say of it, the fish part,
that does not sound like
any fish: rough to the fingers,
difficult to scale, knife catching on hide,
platelets glancing off my glasses?

For it is hard enough anyway
to hold it steady in the sink
without the soft voice in the ear,
the plaintive singing, the water in its lungs
echoing the faucet's laughter.

I suppose it was that, and the easy
reception of my thumb upon
it throat, that made me wonder
if there might be something, this time,
to feel sad about.

- William L. Ramsey