blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1




          Recalling the Standing Fishes Bible,
          an 1806 edition in which Ezekiel 47:10 reads:
          ‘And it shall come to pass that the fishes
          shall stand upon it instead of ‘fishers’

Sticky, floundering, floppy, numerous:
once I helped birth a litter of puppies.
Every scrawny dog checked out—two eyes,
two ears, one tail—except the runt who came
with his paws on backward, pads up. Whining
every step, high-register misunderstandings.
The farmer, pious man, wouldn’t hear of this,
held him down in a tub til no bubbles.

But some of the new ideas do all right.
Now and then there’s a two-headed cow to pull out,
or a tongueless frog to dissect, each destined
for little: their share of the pain prepared them.
Always a chick with no beak who can’t break
the first layer. Always more loose talk among fish
about feet. Flukes are older than you
can imagine; the whale wasn’t one picked to make it

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