John Kelly

Three Poems


There’s mortal shock in that swallowed thup
the deep and instant plumb drop
as hooks and feathers plummet
like a host of fallen angels into slate.

The whole thing seems unstoppable,
like the paying out of graveside rope,
until some deep and unseen frenzy
shakes the rod and sends you

skywards to grip and lift and reel.
And then you see them! A multitude of mackerel
blooming like a chandelier
all lit with death. A frantic mirror ball of fear.

Hoist, and most will slap and clatter at your feet.
The foul-hooked ones you dare not think about,
but tonight, when each is cleaned and cooked
and eaten up with salt and lemon juice,

you’ll fall asleep to liftings and to lowerings,
to sun and splash and saltiness.
You’ll dream the ocean’s rise and fall.
The downward baited line. The upward glitter-haul.


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