My father scrapes the mullet with a butter knife.
Scales flake off in silver slate shards, confetti
that sticks to his hands, forearms, rests in his hair.
June heat crowds us close on the back porch,
where I hold a hose he grabs now and again
to wash away the guts, black and pink tangles.
He sprays, the hook of his thumb making a jet,
scouring the innards clean. We bury the guts
in the alley beneath soft black wheel wells.
Later, I'll hear cats squalling as they fight
over the leftovers we've secreted away here,
between our rented home and a paint-flecked
boarding house where three old men live,
who spend Sunday afternoons tinkering
with a backyard full of junk: a yellow bus
with blacked-out letters, an airboat without
a propeller. Let's go my father says, turning
toward home, running a hand through thinning
hair as fish scales catch the wind, hang in the air.