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.

I’d Chance a Fin Before a Fist

A fish in murky depths
tickles Ptolemy’s ear.
Being marble,
Ptolemy doesn’t twitch.

He keeps his dignity,
considering he lost his base
and wound up on his back
at the bottom of the sea.

One of a tide of fifteen Ptolemys,
which he is remains unclear,
his cartouche partly covered
by an acorn barnacle.

Today Ptolemy’s being raised
by ropes and block and tackle
onto a barge, then carted
to a museum

where he’ll remain
a respected has been
until our world is bathed
again in anarchy.

He’ll maintain impassive calm
even when shattered
along his every vein
by the roaring mob.

——

This is for dVerse Open Link Night. Still not sure about the title, or anything else.

From Fish to Food

He stuns the bass
into a deeper silence
with his wooden knife handle,
scrapes off the scales
using the blade’s dull edge,
then rinses the body.

Slicing up from the anus
to the base of the gills,
he reaches in,
pulls out
glistening entrails
and drops them
to the ground
where the cat begins
a fastidious nibble.

A deep chop
severs the head,
extra pressure
on the spine
for a clean break.

More
for the tabby
to ponder.

Under the tap again,
water and thumbs run through
the cool body cavity,
removing any hint
of life.