When You Saw the Lightning

(from Late Rapturous)

When I was a fish—in that time when no one
walked the long tangled banks of the pond in
those deep woods unscarred by roads—oh, you should
have seen me, my long fish body one muscle, and
my will narrowed to the fine essentials!  You would
have cried out for my beauty when I leapt into the
sun and air and you saw the rainbows and lightning
on my stippled back.  And I would have made you
jump.  Your breath would have caught above your
heart, and you would have loved me in that certain
way that we love things beyond any need for them,
but desiring them senselessly.  Yes, the buzz of the
dragonflies, and then my killing heart in the shade
of the lilies, in the black water with all its treasures,
and my wicked teeth, and how the green leaves on
the trees shuddered when I rose and struck!  That was
when I was a fish.  I would never lie to you about that. 
I don’t know why I would tell you this now.  I don’t
know why you would even listen to anything in a poem
except that it might stop you for a moment, it might
make you lift your head and look around in just that
lonely hour of the day or night when the world isn’t
quite enough.  Oh, yes, I was a power—I razed that
hidden world with splendor and terror, and if you
only could have seen me, your breast would have been
filled with rapture, I’m sure of it.  Along those wild
shores, along that gloss of water, among the sweet
greens of summer—where were you?  


More Poems from Late Raptuous:

Black Notebook, #5, Lisbon
The Wild Swans