A Poetry Sporadical of Repeating Forms

Fish Dog

by Leah Mooney

Morning breaks open the season of dead fish.
They have gathered at the slough edge, fading to bone.
Some carry out with the river.
These bodies catch to rot;
this is love
caught in the teeth of a dog.

An old, wet, brown, happy dog
rolls in a carpet of fish,
and comes to you wanting love.
You toss a bone,
trying not to brush against fur matted with rot,
and hope the river

will wash him clean. This river
will baptize the dog,
washing him clean of the rot.
He is tempted by fish,
that white delicate bone of love.

This will be the season of love.
Year after year, I give myself to this same river.
I let the water wash to bone;
I shake off like a dog.
In search of fish,
I shed old thoughts, old rot.

The dog relishes the rot
of past seasons. I search for love,
counting fish
washed along the river.
I watch the dog
plunge for bone

It all pares down to bone,
loose flaked rot
of lost flesh. The dog
knows this, knows love
like the river
is not attached to the fish.

Each season fish become flesh, then bone.
The river keeps washing clean the rot
like new love, caught in the teeth of a dog.

Leah Mooney is a writer, artist and working mother in rural Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband and daughter. Her work has appeared at Spilled Coffee, Literary Mama and in Vanilla Heart Publishing's nature anthology, Nature’s Gifts.


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