Category Archives: fish

napowrimo #3 (a day late)

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Yesterday’s napowrimo.net prompt was an epithalamium. What ex-wife can resist the temptation to write one of these, I ask you? It’s a draft, I keep reminding myself. Just a draft. Like most everything in my life, it needs revision & re-organization. But the words are almost right, and the notion is there…

One thing I love about napowrimo, aside from forcing myself to write a poem every day, is that it falls during Easter time. I find the story of the crucifixion fascinating, in that I can not really, fully wrap my mind around killing someone so that someone else can live. On the other hand, that’s how my marriage felt. (oh goody…a poem prompt…)

Aaaanyway…

 Too Late, the Ex-Wife Learns that April Marks the Beginning of Wedding Season

and she removes her mosquito net,
poor substitute for a veil.

When you are knee-deep in a clear pond,
trout buzzing at your feet
the best-case survival plan
is not wait for the sting

but cover your face.

She considers the wedding.
The preacher with
the sign of the fish
at his waist–
two intersecting arcs
like gold lips.

The groom with fists
balled, eyes dark as black flies.

The bride, a poor fisher of men,
refusing to hide her eyes,
leaving the veil in the vestibule.

When he reached for his new wife
it was like drawing in the net—
he the fisherman
she the good fish saved for gutting and frying.

it occurs to the poet that things around her are perishing

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and so she writes a poem…

Things That Decided to Perish After You Left, and Why This Is a Good Thing

The summer fern rescued
from the bench by the lake,
dropping one round-tipped leaf
at a time from the inside out
until only brown skeleton
bones are left. You had a good run, fern.
I hardly knew you were dead,
so disguised was your decay.

The yellow daisies
forced to bloom
in the supermarket
thinly veiled
as still-life
on the kitchen table where now only three eat.
I draw ovals around your flowerhead
five-petaled thing that is its own fruit.
I can not get it right.
The painting goes unfinished,
the flowers bend and wilt,
sad dancers.

Tangerine molly
pretty fish family fish
plays well with others.
Born swimming, you trust the universe
to float you in a community where live-bearing bears fry.
Forgive our ignorance,
your arranged marriage to a red devil,
your eventual disappearance.

It is winter—
season of blanketing what is living
with what is great and white.
We are all prey.
The children are eaten by the school bus.
The heat eaten by ice.
The icicles jailing us remain dragon’s teeth.
When the children return
we will break the daggers with our hands
smash them on the snow-covered driveway
in celebration of what has been lost.

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this started out as a list poem, but quickly chose its own path. * process note: last stanza could border on melancholy/trite/maudlin…how to make winter not a cliche? winter is its own cliche…

a surprising twist in the poet’s resume

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How I Became a Pirate

Have you ever kissed a girl with ice
in her mouth? A stranger buys a box of maps
loses the lock. Doesn’t get the girl.
The ice melts and she floats away
on a floe. Becoming an Eskimo
is never an option. Left alone,
lips like that naturally turn to green
teeth and soul patches long as skeleton
keys. The key to the girl’s heart
is lost at sea. She measures the circumference
of a shiver of sharks, dives in the center
(did you expect her to land on a fin?).
Resurfacing proves simpler than our heroine
expects. This is a fluff tale, female protagonist,
male counterpart with good hair and a knack
for laughing while swimming, never drowning.
Once the boy coughs up the key
(You must follow the script. He is a magician.)
the treasure chest is opened to reveal.
That’s it. Simply to reveal.

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process notes:

this poem–a gift. started with the title, borrowed 1/2 a line from catherine bowman, and out it came!

NaPoWriMo #2

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Gone Fishing

From the far side of the raft
there is no stopping the fish hook
from entering her arm. Sun-bleached
canvas grabs the bait, the bass escapes
and one strong mother-tug sends fish
line flying, sinks the barb.

Without its anchor
(clumsy knot come lose)
the floating hulk would have sailed
into the bay, maybe.
Wade to your knees
and you could drag it to shore.
…………..As the mother, it is her duty
…………..to perform daily rescues.
Today a water vessel,
tomorrow a pair of frogs
eight legs tangled in a net.

That was the summer when things could be saved.

When she fell from a stool
reaching for the last bushel bag of apples
on the top shelf
the doctor said back strain,
said, chest x-ray, just as a matter of course.
…………..As a woman, it is her duty to nod and agree.
…………..Yes. Those are spots on my lung.
…………..Her way to be ashamed at the grime in her body,
…………..mindful she should have scrubbed harder
…………..at least worn a clean pair of lungs to this appointment.

Driving past hay fields
and acres of milk cows
on the way to the big city hospital
she tastes the cup of black coffee
she did not drink that morning
inhales the sweet tobacco scent
of the cigarette she did not sneak

before her husband started the car
before her daughter climbed in the back
before the day she could not perform
her own rescue as the surgeon sunk his barb.