To catch a fish, breathe in the firmament,
Consider finality before you begin
Threading fly on thin filament.
Then find a seam where life slides
From one slippery dream to the next and cast
Lightly, with the current, never splash.
Inch your line out in a silvery arc,
Sinuous as love doubling back on itself,
And lay it fine on the shimmering drift
Where it listens for the swift nip of a question — a mere
Twitch between fingers — you must answer.
No time for doubt, pull steadily, pull,
Pull, keeping tension constant — spattering drops,
Splitting wave, breaking light, the slap
Of sudden weight on the gritty shore,
Where you must heft a rough stone
Without hesitation in one well-placed, final thud.
Eating a fish is not like catching a fish.
This is the brutal grace of hunger.
This is getting close to the bone, into the teeth.
With the fine blade of your knife, slit the
Silken underbelly straight
From anus to jaw and, as the scent
Pricks your nostrils, slide your finger in
Below the spine and strip the body’s cavity empty
Of its soft parts, washing it clean of blood.
Now, you may choose to fill a pan with
Butter and garlic, or clean bark
From a lean, green stick and thread the body
Onto its narrow bier to roast over coals.
But wait for the tail to curl and the flesh to sing
Before your teeth sink in, before swallowing what begins to be you.
by MB Whitaker
my white shoes looked like a baby’s,
high topped leather, scuffed
they provided a sturdy anchor
for metal braces
burning along my thighs
their steel stays
prevented my knees from
bending and so
the houses of early memory
are filled with stairs about to be climbed
and encounters with gravity,
with slippery steps up to the front door,
wet mittens sticking to the wrought iron railings,
front doors opening onto stairwells,
interior rooms joining hallways
which are – inevitably – joined by stairs,
stairwells with unevenly worn steps,
wood steps up, cement steps down,
stairs with no rails at all,
circular stairs of triangular wedges
each too small for secure footing,
long stairs without a landing to rest on,
stairs to tumble down
with loudest banging,
the noise as terrifying
as the spinning view, as the fall
and the sudden stop.
in my house green leaves grow
along the windows
and swirling in a teapot made by my hands
are tea leaves from around the world
that I earned by singing
and on the walls are flowers that always bloom
cast in brilliant paint
by my daughter
and photographs of my lover
dancing the wild white river waves
in my house music flows, and poetry, politics,
debate, silliness, laughter,
love of nature, waste
the lovely and the profane
in every room collecting
dust, the dust
of our boots
of trails brought home
of books, skin, dog hair,
the detritus of life
each room of this
hundred year old house
collects ephemera –
under the comforter,
dreams of spiders,
and stray eyelashes—
we shed our bodies and
dreams and memories
as we somersault
through our lives.
I am a stranger
even among those I know well
a part reserved, a part apart,
looking for secure footing –
or loosely tethered
subject to extreme gravity
centrifugal force –
looking for something lost
something once left behind
sometimes in a song
in a forest
in a poem
while making love,
something deep within moves –
flowing and vast,
a strange, unfamiliar
wholly recognizable as
Written by MB Whitaker of Find Me a Bluebird.