Rosemary Winslow


When the waters tabled out
beneath you, and the spooling cable
cranked the net upward
and set you dripping
flashing, above your world
I think you must have been afraid
more than I am now looking at you
under the kitchen lights.

Bonito, little good one,
you have already given
your life.  Still
I hesitate to scrape and delve
your black eye takes me so,
your mouth open a little
as if to say whatever fish say
when they go.

I have been to the top
of one tree only—and it
was small.  I have walked
along rooftops, I have not died.
You lie, half up half
down in fluorescence
all sequined shine
as once in the water's light.

 I handle the knife—raise the flashing
stell above you.  Now what
strange joy?  so clear your dead
beauty in my hand.
One clean quick
swipe in your belly and red
redder than any red I remember
floods out of your white flesh,

 waterfall over my hands,
pool on the table.
What cure? It seems to me
a Jordan.  In stopped time
I see a knife
once put to me,
bone opened white to daylight,
red flood on concrete.

 Fish, you've remembered me.

We live and die
by need, we live
by gift.
The body,
the breaking, the dark eye --
this too is glory.

Note:  Bonito is a variety of small tuna.

Rosemary Winslow
Rosemary Winslow lives in Washington, D.C., and teaches at The Catholic University of America. Her poems and essays have appeared widely in books and in such journals as Poetics Today, Poet Lore, The Southern Review, and 32 Poems. She has received grants from the D.C. Arts Commission, NEH, The Vermont Studio Center, and other foundations.



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