Today's poem is by J.D. Smith

The Drowned Fish
              for Vladimir Trendafilov

One surfaces from time to time,
intact, with no tumor
of industry or age—
a moist tablet on which
is written the diagnosis
that the specimen could not withstand
its native element.

How this happens is still unknown.
A possibility that bears considering,
in Nature or Science,
is how a being might evolve
slightly away from its habitat,
with a fin uselessly lengthened for traction,
a misplaced drive to gasp for air.

This process might explain
the eyes dimming behind windshields
and before bright screens,
or a pedestrian's sudden reach
inside his coat, though he doesn't
withdraw a wallet,
or step into a store.
He could be searching, then, for a nascent flap of gill
or feel, chafing in his sleeve, a new feather.

Copyright © 2005 J.D. Smith All rights reserved
from Settling for Beauty
Cherry Grove Collections
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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