Bluegills 

 

At the end of the dock the vivid green water

Is visibly streaming with the midday sun

Like skies in a ponderous miracle painting;

And if you sit out there in the still summer heat

What will slowly begin to materialize

Like a mobile rising from the depths of the lake

Is a languorous school of bantam bluegill,

Suspended in the jade like many idle hands.

 

Here are the fish that Giotto never painted:

So serene, so sublime in that lush green water.

The fine serrated sepia of their scaling

Is barely more substantial than their element;

In the round translucent eye floats a wide pupil;

There’s a charcoal earspot rich as a beauty mark;

The tail fin is softly trimmed in turquoise,

And their other fins are touched with turquoise too.

 

They laze like immortals, seeing all and nothing,

Slowly trading places to slowly trade again,

Easing to the surface to snap at a bubble,

Easing down, hovering, outside of time and space.

Are these the insatiable bream of your boyhood?

The throwbacks, that stole your bait and danced on your line?

If so, they seem to have died and gone to heaven,

This dense, luminous, narcotic heaven below.

 

Their hypnotic Escher.  Those Lethean waters,

With the sun streaming in and the heat bearing down;

The silence from the mouths of those small mute sirens:

Your eyelids grow heavy; you forget where you are.

You must rouse yourself! Scatter those bloodless enchanters!

You must get away! But it’s too late.  Too late!  Look:

Your face up through the water, just beyond the dock.

You’re one of them now.  One is already your soul.