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Poem of the Month - November 2001
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The Salmon
from Summer Grass

In order to sacrifice her
on the altar of evidence
in the interests of literature
I plunged my arms deep in
and scooped her rosy throbbing body
all flashing fin and panic
out of the dark out of the secret
breast basin
and laid her with trembling
care on the arborite
surface between us

this was to prove to you who had always peered
so uncomprehendingly into my depths
that just as the poems had claimed
below the reach of sun
among the much-described
shadowed green of algaed rock
and waving reed and sediment
a living creature lurked

but when I was done and slumped back
shock-numbed from the severing
when I was through and convinced that
there in that white-tiled kitchen
the matter must certainly rest
all starkly exposed on the plastic
she flexed
she continued      -- writhed
and the side-long blank stare
of her smoky ringed eye

it accused me

impaled on her pain-hook I watched
as she thrashed as she pumped
those pink gills
filled me with anguish
with violent despair

even now I must gulp almost drowning
must grip my chrome chair

but never yet have I looked at your face for fear
that you the consummate biologist
with a gift for observant detachment
will have noticed all this

will have noticed
and permitted yourself
only a little gasp

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