Cooking the Brook Trout

In the dark beyond the fire the river steams.
I rake the coals toward me, then away, the stick catching fire
then going out.
There are answers down there in the ash and charred rock, the embers
of lightning gutted trees.

The fish, coated in river clay steams too.
Before he was fed to the fire he looked as if he had fallen
from another planet: bright blues, the green of dark water,
his eyes two black moons.
I breathe in the smoke of glacial till
sucked up into the bodies of red pine, cedars that have
lifted water from the river
for over a century.

I think of him in the fire
fins and tail swimming toward me through waves of heat.
I will put him on a plate with a single red potato, a glass of
his body coming to rest finally in my heart where the sky churns
with the silent pull of the moon,
where the stars will guide me out of my life.

By Mike Delp

Books by Mike Delp from Wayne State University Press:
Under the Influence of Water
The Last Good Water