Today's poem is by Lucia Perillo


How come we all don't have the luxury of our ghosts?
The way some paintings of salmon
show their spectral versions of flying.
License, you might say,
for the artist to put dead fish in the sky.
Instead of leaving them as they are
when you see them wilting in the eddy:
two tons of major spent-sex stink.

Yet see how everyone skips so giddily around the trail—
eyeballing the spawning from this cedar bridge.
As if they're sure we will be cohorts
in the rapture about which the bumper stickers speak,
as if we really will ascend someday to swim among the fishes.
All of us: see how good we are,
so careful not to kick stones down into creek.

I'm just trying to get a handle on how it would be
if we made love one time in our lives
(after days spent on the interstate)
before we lay down to die so publicly in shallow pools?
While the other forms pass by and point
to educate their frenzied children:

See the odd species. They chose love.

Copyright © 2005 Lucia Perillo All rights reserved
from River Styx
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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