Living Midair    poems by Karen June Olson April 2019

The Suckers Are Running

It’s good that we do not have to kill the sun, or the moon or the stars. Ernest Hemmingway

When the Longnose fish
mate, their coming and going
is fleet. We’d try to catch sight
as serpentine tails twisted adrift,
and danced in a watery bed.

My father lay wait by the shore.
Sleek bodies churned under a blanket
of water. Still, we were unprepared
when he thrust and lifted,
fish by fish, into the air
writhing on a spear. Gills
sputtered. Soft bellies dripped
rubies and pearls onto the lawn,
the dying gleam heaped by the road.

Why do you cry over some damned fish?

We looked into the sky, illustrated
by a million stars as it darkened. We drew a breath,
gathered our legs and ran.

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