[from Susan Hutton's On the Vanishing of Large Creatures, 2007]
Is More Than
The beautiful folded fish nets, the bleached floats,
the ropes and anchors arranged along the shore
belie their heartless presence in the sea. Meanwhile,
the fish have made a heaven of the air. They rise from their cold nights
toward the multiplying dawn. The colors are marvelous, splendid.
It's unfair when they're caught. The escapists: confirmed liars.
The rest: it ends badly, but it simplifies things.
The idea of heaven was once all that mattered: whole and perfect,
beyond complaint. And in the seven such days I spent
in Riomaggiore, knives and forks clattered at me
from other windows while I ate. When the church bells ran in the
we were all yanked from sleep. I lived easily in their habits
while my world was fresh. After a thousand breakfasts together,
the table really is a table, just as the grass is really the grass.
There is the smell, for one thing, and the way the table stands.
On the Vanishing of Large Creatures (Carnegie Mellon Poetry)