Deep Lane: We Began to Think the White Fish Individual.
We began to think the white fish individual --the one of the pair who'd struggled, after all, when our pond's colder water shocked and he lay pulsing in the shallows till we thought him all but gone, then simply drew himself up, if that were something a fish could do, and swam away. A heron ate his mate. He seemed, all the more then, singular He surfaced in March, after his first season entombed in bottom-mud, unscathed, a four inch emperor in his white silk coat, insignia of the kingdom splashed over his back the color of candied orange rind. He'd nose up out of the lily-murk when our shadows crossed his borders, push to the edge to open the translucent white ring of his mouth over and over as if begging ... As if! Seems to want, seems to feel. But as we knew him semblance fell away: We felt the presence of the soul of him, if soul could be understood as specificity, so that when he himself was swallowed --white appetite perched on the roof, bill raised to the air, throat unrelenting-- the absence in the pond grew resonant, a sort of empty ringing. Where were the details then, the gestures that had marked him? How can I take any pleasure in this garden?
MARK DOTY is the author of several collections of poetry and memoir, most recently Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems(HarperCollins, 2008), which received the National Book Award; School of the Arts (2005); Source (2002); and Sweet Machine(1998).
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|Title Annotation:||ten poems|
|Publication:||The American Poetry Review|
|Date:||May 1, 2011|