Southern Illinois Spring

The pond I fish
holds an offering of sky within
the water. I cast into clouds —
draw them close on the
ripple of a wave.

Geese warble
silently past my boat as
they fly at the waterline.
In the depths fish lurk, hidden
by a thunderhead — their darkness
masked by the gray, moving
forms rolling, building above.

Water spiders dance upon the
mirror surface flecked with dust
of protozoa. A breeze kicks up.
I pull on the oars, slicing
through steely sky. I draw
to shore as the rain begins.

Millions of ripples intersect
each other, unbroken as they
expand, dividing the sky among
themselves until the choppy water
arises in petulant waves. Fish
surrender to the moment
of anarchy, thrashing, striking
wildly at the line I cast again
and again. The sky takes
back itself and returns
water.

——

I’m not sure how many years ago I wrote this, but it’s in one of my chapbooks.

Glub, Glub

Underwater

I tip backward off the boat,
press mask and regulator
to my face
then adjust to Caribbean
waters. Their clear
depths rise to me.

Scissoring my legs
to descend
among bright, flashing schools
who move as one,
I scan the reef.

Among the waving fans
and anemone, brain coral
rests, each a colony
of polyps extending
thin, translucent
tentacles at night
to trap
zooplankton.

Their flesh is nibbled
by parrotfish,
multicolor splashes
whose teeth press together
into a sharp beak.

As the parrotfish
swim over the coral,
I remember
they are eaten
by black tip reef sharks,
eels and octopi.

The great circle of life—
a menu card.

I check my gauges
then begin slow rise
to the surface,
the world
where Chase MasterCard
and the IRS
have me for breakfast
lunch and dinner.