I climbed another mountain and spat on a boulder
because climbing a mountain means nothing. To fish
from the middle of the stream, fresh catch flailing
breathlessly on the shore, gasping frivolous moonlight,
their widened eyes confused: that is my percussion
of temptation, the drum I’d rather follow through the rain

heedlessly, giggling, mooing, etc. I am a freight train
whistling through a blizzard, dragging boulders
between monotonous cities. I am the percussion
heard crossing a river by bridge. Below, fish
  gather in the shallows, mouthing Woah in the moonlight.
A boy fishing in a rowboat is having a seizure, flailing

in the floor of the boat. I am the boy. I am flailing,
  knocking my head against starboard. Of course the rain
  is shattered glass reflected in the moonlight.
Of course you’re safe here waiting on the boulder.
My name is in the belly of a fish.
  And yours? Swelling a balloon of percussion?

This is where the air comes from, exactly what percussion
  flutters my rolled eyes, gives my flailing
  its certain quiet rhythm. I was impersonating a fish
  out of water. I was putting you on. Doesn’t the rain
  sound wonderful against the water? Come down from the boulder
and listen from the river. Step into your dress of light

already. The train is long gone, leaving us the moonlight
to watch as I give in to your percussion.
  Isn’t there room on the boulder
for both of us? Our reflections are flailing
  in the ripples of the steady rain.
We are filled with the very fish

gathered in the shallows, holding fish
  congress. It’s not what you think. The moonlight
is wavered. The boulder is cool. The glass rain
traverses the bordering pines, hissing percussion
toward shore, and drums on a bluegill displaced and flailing
  in the sand. Your hair is draped across the boulder,

but I am not the boulder. The fish continues flailing,
streaked with moonlight, thudding percussion under the rain.
 
 

Henry Finch

HENRY FINCH is a graduate of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. His poetry appears in jubilat, Denver Quarterly, Seattle Review, Prelude, North American Review, Massachusetts Review, and many others journals. He lives across the river in Burlington.

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