Dead Catfish

Persistent crone. Your medieval grin,
(evoking Brueghel) settled in the stone
and switch grass sometime in the summer light
and stayed. The wind refused to throw you back.
The storm last week could not produce the waves
to reach you where you rotted in the shade

and petrified. I recognize this shade
of gray as semi-permanent, your grin,
the rictus in a fevered dream that waves
and floats, as something of a childhood touchstone:
Once a bird, your image filters back
a catfish. Sick hallucinations light

those dreams in much the way that sunlight
draws your shadow where I step. A nightshade
in the day, you cultivate a switchback
atmosphere, a counter-Lohengrin
where hero is enchanter. Where the stone-
cracked stage shall have no magic swan or waves

of celebrants or swords, but tidal waves
of stagnant air; a concrete satellite
in static orbit fixed upon a stone;
a brittle plinth and monument to schaden-
freud. A luckless path. But here’s that grin
and mockery of Cheshire Cat! A back-

and-forth along the frissoned razorback
of clowning time, you have the nerve to wave
me down and hold me here, to press your grin
into the mirror of the lakeblue light.
My eyes and yours, behind their carbon shade
of hardened death, are locked like mason’s stone

as viral memory corrodes to breakstone
beach. The progress of your broken back
is mimicked in the cloudline where the shade
of crawling afternoon traverses waves
now audible and focuses the light
remaining on your curtain call. You grin

your bottom-feeder grin of stone, inert
and elegant, enlightened, coming back
to life in waves of shade across the dirt.

2 Responses to “Dead Catfish”

  1. Carroll Says:

    C’mon, Rick. It’s almost September! Give us a break from that damned dead fish at the top of your pile here. Haven’t you got some profound Indian Summer reflection or two up your sleeve? 😉

  2. allisunknown Says:


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