The pond out back is a ring of black glass;
I feed catfish with stale bread. From the wharf,
brown whiskers burst from the mirror.
As if I worked magic, they clapped their jaws.
Send out your bread upon the waters,
for after many days you will get it back,
my mantra. Jasmine unclench
scented palms, glimmer,
then bud in the same dense soil;
isolation opens its shutters to me again—
we repeat ourselves to escape time,
failing each time to claim endurance,
like the catfish on the outskirts of this frenzy,
exiles knowing change is the only singularity.
Their muscled bodies whack
the wooden pier, I shiver—
old grubbers clamor in the glass.
In prehistory, they must have been luminous
and smooth, living water; now,
thin gobbling lips and war wounds,
hooks on gills and mouths,
addicting as the idea of love.
My lover worms an arm around me
and licks the remains off my fingers like an animal
nursing its wound, or a man
savoring bread, saying, let’s go back
to bed and be still—the one thing
we’ll be utterly unable to do.