Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Fish Pearls

Let's stick to just the facts.
When the birch logs refused to light,
paper-white bark lifting in flecks toward the sky,

that's when you disappeared.
Not vanished, mind you, but in mind, and I could see
through the trees (dripping rainwater from

branch to silhouette branch)
one long arm outstretched, not toward me.
And I could see that you could still

see me. Let's stick as justly
as the emerald-green moss clings to stumps.
To the facts: where the river undercuts

its own banks, there are footpaths,
and upon those are people,
and someday the people will cling to drifting logs.

I would say, if interrogated, that this disappearance
was not sudden; limb by limb,
you faded-spine a bulwark, shoulders a scale.

Just, let's stick to the facts:
some of those people own cabins of split log.
When the river cuts into

its own banks (braids itself in like snakes
through the hair)
the elderly couple clinging to their home

will drift with split logs
into the new main channel, where the gray
water is the color of a salmon's split belly, of the skin

peeling back from the salmon's bare skull,
eye sockets housing what we called,
as children, fish pearls, 

tiny white calcified flecks
scattered in sand, that we knew for a fact
were precious
beyond measure.                                                         

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