“Bonjour, madamemoiselle!” he says every week,
and I never correct him.
We walk together, the glass panes and
pink and white rows of fresh fish - le poisson -
stretch out between us as I point delicately
to some choice fillets and ask, “Il est frais?”
He smiles so earnestly for a man not on commission.
Does he ever notice I buy too many pounds of flesh
for an unmarried woman to eat?
He tells me in our language
exactly which hour each fish came.
Whose wife is above a modest look away
baring her young throat, if she still has it,
to charm a man out of his freshest catch
to feed her children?
When he turns around to prepare my order,
his dark skin glints like the knife
he cleans the fish with.
The market is so loud, only I can hear myself
catching my breath from speaking with les liasons
Did he always work with his hands?
Where did all learn all those languages
on his nametag?
Does he take off a wedding band to work?
Does his face brighten like daybreak
for any other customers when I’m not there?