The red-haired fishwoman
chooses for me:
three rascasse, two rougets,
one dorade, shrimps, mussels
and three mean-looking heads
each as big as a fish.

Going home in the train
they soak through the newspaper,
drip from my net
onto the clean train floor.
Their smell trails me home.

Weeping, I slice onions.
The fish make wicked mouths. Spiky,
spiny, glittering with pink and gray scales
they flop under my knife
and prick my thumbs.
The heads regard me

The cats from next door
wind themselves yowling around my ankles.
I dare not lift the lid
for fear they will hurl themselves in,
and I remember the story of Gwion
who dipped his finger in the witch's cauldron
licked it, and understood
the speech of beasts.

I'll talk with cats, and heed
the prophesies of fish.
I taste the soup. Tonight we'll eat
a broth as rich as blood,
life-giving as the salty sea
in which our earliest mother
cooks us up.