Seven Beasts
Grayling

North country suits you;
you raise your flag-fin to it,
bright banner to steady your way
through blue-gray pools
lanced by sun at midnight. 

Your home waters
could lull a man to death
in a quarter hour, steal his breath
degree by cold degree
while you, indifferent,
plucked a gnat from the surface
with a quick-silver caress.

But the gnat turns sharp,
takes hold in your arctic flesh
with a twist and sting.
Strong, too, its tiny wings
towing you relentlessly
towards the shallows. 
Then you are aloft,
scooped skyward in a prison of twine. 

Thymallus, he names you,
for the scent of thyme that
rises faintly from your flanks
as you lie in his creel, caught.



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A poem from Seven Beasts, by Adam Joshua Sass