The Rayhttps://i0.wp.com/barrenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/br06.jpg?fit=1080%2C1080&ssl=110801080Jared BeloffJared Beloffhttps://i0.wp.com/barrenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/JaredBeloff.jpg?fit=96%2C96&ssl=1
after Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin
Chardin pulls our eyes
to its translucent skin
announcing its wound, pink
and gaping, spilling: a brutal lack
of symbolism. A kitten tiptoes
a harried arch through oysters,
their jellied muscles exposed,
its face pinched back
from what might be revealed:
a cloth covers the knife’s edge
like a flap of skin, the ray’s mouth
might be screaming.
But our eyes continue upward
to the glint and curve of the hook,
the string taut with suggested weight:
the ray held, not in crucifixion
but arranged as if it were swimming
toward the surface to drown once more.
Jared Beloff is a teacher and poet who lives in Queens, NY with his wife and two daughters. You can find his work in Contrary Magazine, Rise Up Review, Gyroscope Review and elsewhere. You can find him online at www.jaredbeloff.com. Follow him on Twitter @read_instead.