Friday, September 08, 2017


Robert Hamilton, "The History of British Fishes,
Four Stages of a Fish," Wellcome Library, London

We’d start at the ending, that
muddy old mouth, picking our
way back to before the womb,
laddering up braided streams
where hatchlings clear as glass
(but for yolk sacs still attached)
fed on lacewings, on damselfly
eggs. How it goes is how it went:
parents who’d never wandered
upstream would tell us, their
children, stories full of harbor
silt—so cloudy, opaque, hiding
snags. We’d listen just until the
silver exhalations of meltwater
would find us. Then we’d be off,
climbing, to follow that scent.

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