Here are the shiners,
Hugging the lakeshore
In the midday’s crystalline waters:
A herd of miniature translucent gazelles,
Their quivering shadows
On the blond African savannah
Of the sand bottom.
A hundred-eyed vigilance
Just under the skin of the water.
There is no one shiner.
There is only this restless mobile
Of their wandering solidarity;
This collective illusion of the predator
They will never grow to become.
This sudden departing signature
Of so many Olympiad rings.
There is only one shiner—
The micro-tarpon of this infra-ocean bay:
Its dorsal transparence
A provocative nakedness
Revealing the skull and spine.
A tiny mute Cassandra,
Eyes fixed in prophetic horror
Of the pride of black bass
Condensing from the depths,
Of the ruling kingfisher
And patrolling pondhawks
Of the ravenous heavens.
But one shiner,
And then another—
That whole-body seizure of ecstasy!
That infectious convulsion
Electrifying the school
Like the Holy Ghost at a Baptist revival.
Those sidelong flashes of silver scales
Are a heliogram to the Sun Himself:
All glory to the Sun!
All praise to the Word of the Sun!
And there are the shiners
Out over the depths
On the lake’s patina of moonlight,
In the night’s hungering fever,
Scattering into the air
Ahead of the wakes of pursuers,
Their weightless leaps and dives
The stots and sprints of gazelles.
What is smaller
Than the droplets of water
They shed by the moon?
And there is no safe harbor—
No refuge but each other
When they re-school minus their casualties
And migrate on through the night,
By the ghost of the irrevocable Sun,
Snatching at low-flying gnats
Until the next strike of the gamefish,
When their silver leaps
Cascade through the air,
A dewdrop bridge
To more life
Of one indivisible shiner
Who has never known terror from joy.