Today's poems are by Lola Haskins
Here behind glass they are stacked
in schools. Far from the leaping cold
of Iceland, cod wait without their hearts.
Here, headless shrimp crowd together.
Here are salmon, carved in flat lyres,
that we may know them by their color only.
And look, children, here are the smelts.
They have left them whole.
Do you think, if we take them home
and thaw them out, they will show us
what it was like to swim, thick as shoppers,
down the dark aisles of the sea?
The swing in the hips of a man
who's known the sea,
the dim roll and drag,
the black or turquoise water
on which he walks, on shore
or far from land.
There is the peace in him
of the bird
who begins her warble knowing
she has all day to sing.
Copyright © 2004 Lola Haskins All rights reserved
from Desire Lines: New and Selected Poems
BOA Editions Ltd.
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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