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  • John Grey

Catfish swamp

John Grey

Photo by Chris Chan on Unsplash

Here in the bayou,

the moon is cold

but nothing else is.

Two men in a canoe

pull into shifting shore,

with a creel of catfish.

Foggy dusk disappears

into dark.

Shadows creep along

past mangrove, ibis,

an amazing variety of reptiles,

only the banks kept alive

by the narrow beam of a flashlight.

A day of sweat is over,

time to feel cocky

as they slouch by a homeless camp

with their catch.

They’ve been doing this for years,

like their fathers, grandfathers,

like the gators, muskrat and weasels,

anything that gurgles, sneaks,

ultimately rusts.

The swamp becomes the

one great mass of nothingness

and everything

while houselights dawn

in windowpanes.

The air is thick enough

to punch a hole in it.

Sleep cannot be counted on.

Filleting fish will have to do.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in New World Writing, California Quarterly and Lost Pilots. Latest books, ”Between Two Fires”, “Covert” and “Memory Outside The Head” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in the Seventh Quarry, La Presa and Doubly Mad.


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