content warning: references to domestic violence, animal cruelty
by the green-gold water thick with snakes
and clay, we saw that man, sweating and sunburnt,
plunge his arm into the muck one time, two,
fifteen — searching for dens along the dam.
twenty times, thirty, and then his hand
came back deep in the gut of a dinosaur,
a mudcat, fisting tight some notion of triumph.
that man — call him by his name, if you dare
— you know, i bet he had waited all his life
to ransack a home, strangle the woman inside,
and there — knee-deep in the hot algae stink
of a summertime swamp, he had. the too-smooth
skin wet-rubber slick, he lived it again i think, —
the gasping, the gaze dilated and threatened —
when he saw her, our green-eyed mother
who trawled the bottom and chose that mouthful
of glove and fist to have and to hold,
dull-eyed and thrashing 'til death
— forgive me, this scene is sometimes turbid.
my mother is a fish, alive in the green-gold
lake. was it one of the others? the third wife,
or after? the one whose gray eyes fixed
to the horizon and never wandered.
do you remember? it was here — this lake,
at the water's scummed edge where froth
and trash shore up. here, where some men
get fish and others hook women who hang
breathless, drowning in open air.
Adrienne Crezo is an editor and writer. She lives in a kind of treehouse in Ohio with her family.