Elaine Terranova Monkfish. Manatee.

Monkfish, that looks to be more human than other fish. More human except for maybe the manatee which isn’t even a fish but a mammal trapped in water and we don’t anyhow eat them. Oh, I’m so happy I don’t need to clean or cook it today, monkfish, fillet the texture and shape of our guts, with its thin, slippery membrane that should be pulled back and over like a pair of socks rolled into a ball. Though the membrane breaks down and melts in high or prolonged heat. When done, it could be any other fish even if tough and resistant un- or undercooked. I once saw a manatee rising from the shallow, dirty water edging Tampa Bay. It floated amid chip bags and popsicle sticks like a swollen baby. I can only imagine a monkfish alive, with its wide mouth. Both it and the manatee, with their similar bewildered, homely-man faces.

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