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Capelin Scull

Michael Crummey
From:   Hard Light. London, Ont.: Brick Books, 1998.


What you'd imagine the sound of
an orchestra tuning up might look like,
cacaphony of silver and black at your feet.
          Spawning capelin washed onto
grey sand beaches in the hundreds
of thousands like survivors of a shipwreck,
their furious panic exhausted into
helpless writhing while boys scoop them
into buckets with dipnets.
They migrate all the way
from the Carribean for this,
each wave rolling onto the shore
like another bus stuffed with
passengers bound for oblivion,
limbs and heads hanging recklessly
through the open windows.

Most of them rotted on the beach
or found their way onto gardens
planted with potatoes in those days,
except for the few we dried on
window screens beside the shed,
neat rows of the tiny fish
endlessly buzzed over by houseflies
like crazy eighth notes on a staff.
Roasted them over open flame
until they were black and they tasted
much as you'd imagine burnt fish would
but we ate them anyway
head and tail together.
They had come such a long way
and given themselves up so completely
and in such an awful silence
that we felt obliged to
aquire the taste.



Michael Crummey's works copyright © to the author.


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