We heard the creaking clutch of the crank 
as they drew it up by cable and wheel 
and hung it sleek as a hull from the roof. 

Grennan jammed open the great jaws 
and we saw how the upper jaw hung from 
the skull. We flinched at the stench of blood 

that dripped on the fishhouse floor, and 
even Davey—when Grennan reached in 
past the scowl and the steel prop for the

stump—just about passed out. The limb's
skin had already blanched, a sight none 
of us could stomach, and we retched  

though Grennan, cool, began cutting off 
the flesh in knots, slashing off the flesh 
in strips; and then Davey, flensing and

flanching, opened up the stomach and 
the steaming bowels. Gulls circled like 
ghouls. Still they taunt us with their cries

and our hearts still burn inside us when 
we remember, how Grennan with a tool
took out what was left of the child.

First published in Heat, an Australian international literary magazine. Copyright © 2004 by Judith Beveridge. Used by permission of the author.