A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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September 2009, vol 5 no 3

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Michael Kiella



The wind was still while I slid the kayak into February black-water; not the water of August or summer each heavy in the aroma of beach parties and bon-fires. August-water tells of fish while February-water is a black reflection of grey skies and short days. Nobody expects anything of February.

open water
february cold
merganser dives

For a short time in the autumn of 1953 I was a fish. Ontogeny. Phylogeny. Nativity. I swam in contained warm water...water which bathed my vestigial gills, my ocean not yet completely contained. That water and its warmth broken; my carbon-skinned scales now move silently across February water. The truth of it: February is a sound that I celebrate.

the shallows –
clear water too cold for fish
green labyrinth

I wish that this carbon frame could flex like a blue whale and slide with me under the cover of water. Face down. I wish that I could listen to first-person fish. I imagine it being like the horse-hair pulled across a double bass: low sweet visceral. Pellets of white snow-water strike the lake, the transition energy humming a single note: I memorize the sound; and later find its likeness on a piano...sound of the universe, it is

aboriginal B-flat
fish music

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