THOUGHTS WHILE FILLETING A FISH
As the lake gulps down the sun,
I enter the shadow of my cabin,
carrying my fly rod and creel.
Clematis and rhododendron lay
down their scent in a carpet
that thrills my senses. Warblers
trill from shadows in the shrubs.
The trout on the counter dully eyes
me as I ply my fillet knife through its
pink flesh. My hopes are nourished by
this fish who gave its life for my dinner.
Yet a thought perturbs me. Is this fish’s
death an event unending?
I too grew from a kindergarten of eggs in
communion with this sleek, slick miracle of
the water. Is our end the only happening that
does not end? Or can I believe that this fillet
is a beginning?
MEN THREE INCHES TALL
colored the screen in the lounge at my residence
hall as I sat after dinner watching the news. They
stood tall in Vietnam, but in Berkeley, measured a
mere quarter-foot, a piddling three inches.
There were three-inch Vietcong and three-inch
Americans. My reality of that war is three inches
tall. There was a kind of three-inch equality of the
parties to the conflict on TV, though America
wielded the most lethality. (My Soche class
was studying inequality at the time. So,
equality of any sort seemed a great idea.)
TV equalized the heights of the soldiers. It
sanitized the conflict, not showing blood or
death full-on. The screen treated the pain of
America with a narcotic of fast-acting and
dispassionate psychedelic electrons.
I’m sorry I cannot understand the pain of our Viet
vets, some my high school peers. When I encounter
one, I cannot connect him to the three-inch men
I used to watch at Berkeley after dinner. And that,
for me, is the saddest aftermath of that damn tiny war.
G. Louis Heath, Ph.D., Berkeley, 1969, recently retired from teaching at Ashford University, Clinton, Iowa. . He enjoys reading his poems at open mics. He often hikes along the Mississippi River, stopping to work on a poem he pulls from his back pocket, weather permitting. His books include Mutiny Does Not Happen Lightly, Long Dark River Casino and Vandals In The Bomb Factory. His most recent poems have been published in Poppy Road Review, Writing Raw, Inkstain Press, Verse-Virtual, and Squawk Back. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org