ADAM DICKINSON


THE UNREFLECTIVE, THE INLAND FISH

Your attention squats in your head,
in the old amphibious part of the brain,
a fish climbing ladders to the silt beds,
to the plans for forgetting your keys
so you have to return to her house.
The city outskirts, with their oil tanks
and broken trucks, their food-coloured car lots
have the curious fertility of the interval land beside low rivers,
a place where the shrubs creep warily aware of the floods,
their bad-hair-cut branches beaten back each spring.
This is where thinking leaves us, a reflection
messed by the wind on the water into the stars of a punched eye,
into the drunk calcium of the strip mall.
This is the end of explanation, the amazement
that in the high plains, beyond the ocean's strict piano,
there are trout in the hard-watered streams.
How do you explain the spokes and pulleys that winch
the knot in your gut?  The face that swims
through the curtains at night, its question composed
entirely of mouths? 
Like the horizon, like the flesh,
what divides us from the unknowable
is a wet mouth, the middle distance of explanation.
The flags are stiff by the car lots.  The wind
has dragged its fish bones into town.   

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