the pale shriek of a white fish cast on a black hook

they are leaning in to one another with questioning, imploring gazes
directed outward

the devils gnaw at the boat’s flesh, first one way, then the next,
attempting vainly to upset her

in the fumes of alcohol, in the foam from my mouth, in the shade,
I’ve written nothing of the present

reeking of tuna and chlorine, unable to see in the steam,
his face up near the mirror, the mirror crying

I’ve shaken the first fruits down from the tree, now the bloom
is off in the bowl

her craft solid in the water, restful in the stream, like a fly
pinned to a board

Englishwomen, Puritans, take heed, cast your hook in still waters
and already, there he is, gasping beside you

with the first rasp of his tongue and the wheeze as you trod on his lung

they try to make it easier, they try to make you perfect, they try to
make you collapse like a crepe bell into the ocean mud

everything will be complicated about me and I will have to find
explanations for my usefulness

a blind worm bait, the mincemeat of your chin, the birds and the fish
they come to, they love you.