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.