Before I only knew the tucunaré
from the market stall, covered in blood
or flopping in the belly of the canoe
beaching on a sand spit of the Rio Negro.
Tucunaré for me was just a delicacy,
an aroma from the tureen hooking me,
dragging me to eat immediately
without a thought for scales or bones.
I only saw the rounded crimson spot
down near the tail, the elongated shape,
and that delicious flavor in the mouth.
So I found myself amazed, filled with praise,
by the story of its universe
on that T.V. show.
I came to feel myself a relative
seeing the tucunaré a super-human
protecting the young fry, weaving back and forth
with loving care, a shield
against the dangers of the river surrounding
those innocent small fish, rather than
abandoning them to the random waters.
Cabral, Astrid. “Kin.” Trans. Alexis Levitin. Cage. Austin: Host Publications, 2008. p. 29.