#NaPoWriMo – Day Eighteen – The Poem Fish

There are no hooks or bait.
The skill is standing barefoot
when the ice water runs across your toes
and the feeling goes thick in your fingers
waiting for the hum in the current.
You can be there for months,
lock-kneed and bent into shapes
you must learn yourself out of.
Still the Poem Fish does not swim
in those waters,
or if it does you sense it slip
smaller than a minnow
through the splayed net of your hands,
watch the words melt and rush
away with the rest of the river current.
Other days the Poem Fish arrive in shoals,
thrash themselves over each other
to leap into your hands.
Those are the days you learn
which Poem Fish to throw back to grow
and which you should take a knife to,
split open along the belly seam
and spill onto the page.
Some will turn before you cut,
a dead thing dead before you thump
its scaled head against the rocks,
and filled with sand.
Those are not Poem Fish,
they will not fill you up.

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