by James Owens
I trick the scum to life with a pebble,
and wonder, haloed by the water's trouble,
will this carp, cynic and fat by its drain,
still nudge among these slimy stones
when I am perfected to naked bones,
softening beneath the caustic rain?
The wind, for only answer, harries
a rattle of newsprint into the trees.
Rutting dragonflies twist in couples,
green as rotting bronze, and kiss their doubles.
Bold again after a minute's quiet,
the fertile frogs yell themselves hoarse
by scraps of garbage, a discourse
on their tadpoles' choreography.
Old car batteries seep and bubble.
The slow carp oozes through mud,
mud-fleshed owner of the lower sludge,
easing past broken bottles to draw
little prey within the vacuum of its jaw.
About James Owens: His most recent collection of poems is Mortalia (FutureCycle Press, 2015). His poems, stories, and translations appear widely in literary journals, including publications in The Fourth River, Kestrel, Tule Review, Poetry Ireland Review, and Southword. He earned an MFA at the University of Alabama and lives in Wabash, Ind.