A Poem from Figured Dark
Here's a fourteen-liner from my forthcoming collection, Figured Dark. The literal occasion for the poem came several years ago, when a "fish lamp" sold at A Great Shop in Gearhart, Oregon, appeared on the cover of Coastal Living magazine. The store is owned by my in-laws, Robert and Florence Arenz. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a copy of the magazine cover (or a picture of the fish lamp) online, so I have included a picture of a Tautog.
You may have noticed that we are feeling fishy here at S@4AM, probably because we've had a little thaw as of late, and it's almost time to head for the Pere Marquette River in search of the clever steelhead. My friends in Oregon don't believe me when I tell them this, but we have one of the best spring steelhead fisheries in the world, right here in Michigan.
This poem originally appeared in The Blue Mesa Review.
THE FISH LAMP ON THE COVER
OF COASTAL LIVING MAGAZINE
As scup or drum his realm is the open sea,
but now, this living room: the chintz
and brocades, a tidy reef of table and vase.
He's made of rice and chrysanthemums,
the slurry pressed beneath a stone,
then fingered across a bamboo frame.
His fins spay out and paper eyes bulge,
as if his equilibrium––pinioned
atop a metal pole, body puffed full
of sixty watts and air––astonishes.
That lyric, Too many fish in the sea?
He croaks and hums and whistles along.
And the dark that sails beyond the window––
he has never seen such dark water.