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A Display Of Mackeral Analysis

Author: poem of Mark Doty Type: poem Views: 15

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They lie in parallel rows,

on ice, head to tail,

each a foot of luminosity

barred with black bands,

which divide the scales'

radiant sections

like seams of lead

in a Tiffany window.

Iridescent, watery

prismatics: think abalone,

the wildly rainbowed

mirror of a soap-bubble sphere,

think sun on gasoline.

Splendor, and splendor,

and not a one in any way

distinguished from the other

--nothing about them

of individuality. Instead

they're all exact expressions

of the one soul,

each a perfect fulfillment

of heaven's template,

mackerel essence. As if,

after a lifetime arriving

at this enameling, the jeweler's

made uncountable examples

each as intricate

in its oily fabulation

as the one before;

a cosmos of champleve.

Suppose we could iridesce,

like these, and lose ourselves

entirely in the universe

of shimmer--would you want

to be yourself only,

unduplicatable, doomed

to be lost? They'd prefer,

plainly, to be flashing participants,

multitudinous. Even on ice

they seem to be bolting

forward, heedless of stasis.

They don't care they're dead

and nearly frozen,

just as, presumably,

they didn't care that they were living:

all, all for all,

the rainbowed school

and its acres of brilliant classrooms,

in which no verb is singular,

or every one is. How happy they seem,

even on ice, to be together, selfless,

which is the price of gleaming.

Submitted by southerndeb


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