The Ray

The Ray

The Ray 1080 1080 Jared Beloff

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.

Header photograph © Brooke Reynolds.

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