Katia Grubisic

It prods with its beak
the heaving flanks, lets the fish wait
for death. The heron too waits. Its feet wrap the rock
like gnarled lichen and its breath rises
and ends someplace deep and slow. Desire
is a vertiginous warmth spread slowly;

has it really to do with hunger? I trace
circles on the shale, my scratch
in this ordinary riparian melodrama: the dammed river,
the rapids’ patient frenzy, the black-capped night herons
lined up on the shore, poised, eager and pathetic

but the one who gets it is the great grey-blue,
who dips in and spears the carp,
forces the skin apart, slits it like a mouth
before swallowing it whole. There is no forethought
to concupiscence. We are thinking

of paradise, which is not thinking at all.
We like the enfolding conflagration, we like
swallowing it whole. Later I will barely recall
that moment’s mindless hunt
as I push against my lover, not telling
of the flat, fat, silvery body
pulsing at the mouth of its captor.

from What if red ran out. Goose Lane Editions, 2008. First published in The Fiddlehead, 235.

Read my conversation with Katia Grubisic here.