The Fish Cry Out from the Flames

by RHETT ISEMAN TRULL

But it’s Cynthia I love. She turns the spit and fire reaches again for the bream. Only two were large enough to keep, riding home from the river in my bucket, alive, Cynthia’s the knife that stripped them. Litter of scales like sparks among the moss. I heard no prayer she offered. I held the tray and skewers. She lit the match, set the coals to dancing. Cynthia in the dark now. Smoke that curls around her, be my hands. I, too, am snapping in the fire, but no one’s listening. Certainly not Cynthia, unconcerned about the wind threatening the blaze, the plate too big for what I’ve caught, hunger that grows by the hour—well, her own maybe, yes, to her appetite she attends, but not mine. Nor my shadow the night is absorbing. Nor my fishing pole against the tree, line threaded still with its hook.

RHETT ISEMAN TRULL’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The American Poetry Review, Best New Poets 2008, Prairie Schooner, The Southern Review, and other publications. Her awards include prizes from the Academy of American Poets and the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Foundation. She received her B.A. from Duke University and her M.F.A from UNC Greensboro, where she was a Randall Jarrell fellow. She and her husband publish Cave Wall in Greensboro, North Carolina. Her manuscript The Real Warnings was selected by contest judge Sheryl St. Germain as winner of the 2008 Anhinga Prize for Poetry.