Seven Beasts

Fine old shoe of a fish,
gape-mouthed, sturdy, and wise,
nosing lakebed and slough bottom
for meals of happenstance:
you are not too good
for what’s fallen in,
drifted down,
for the worse halves of
a dozen different things,
neither beggar nor chooser,
simply alive, and hungry.

I have met you at twenty Passovers,
watched you swarm the weedy shallows
of Cayuga’s west shore,
upstate, home.

I caught you once in a farm pond,
and let you go again,
because I’d only wished the catching,
not the keeping.

Good brute, your kind
will outlive mine
by ten Ice Ages,
ten Megidos, and
on the dawn of this world’s last day,
our sun’s blinding end
will turn your scales
to a thousand stars.


From Seven Beasts, by Adam Sass