Cod Flashes Catch and release but first, after the flapping stops, pull a paint-dripping brush tight down both sides of its body. White to teach a lesson about survival to it and everyone who sees. Highly visible through the muck, it will travel far south, far north hugging the river’s top ice until the danger has passed. I am painted white inside, my muscles only know taught. Different doctors say this shouldn’t be happening to someone my age. Why so wired and meditation only makes it worse. I am counting down. Cod arrives at its camouflage destination. Maybe safe but ghosts are also white. Three sheets I layer to cover the ice, I too have found a home here. A red fish fibrillates inside me. Seize, unseize. With a whimper, arythma. If the ghost is me, if the ghost is which part of me, fish can fellowship and compare our woes of white. Maybe the ghost will be only my mind and haunting is a boast of finally free. But before, we will sleep me on these stacked sheets, the cod, bobbing in the current, exactly below my meekly knocking heart.
About the Author: Brian Ed Boies lived by train tracks and transcribed train graffiti and used it as prompts. This poem is from that process. He has been published by the National Endowment of the Arts and in Punk Planet and ZYZZYVA. A story of his was listed as Notable Nonrequired Reading in 2012. He lives in Sacramento with his wife and daughter.
Image Credit: Public Domain image originally from The history of esculent fish London: Printed for Edward Jeffrey [etc.],1794. Courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library.