the pyrenées

pyrene listens her father plays
this evening’s fishbone harmony
his harmonica—random, the day’s catch
a mister john dory
once free once filet
now skinny skeleton set
behind this prey’s thin bottom lip

pyrene sees the memory sudden why?
of the dory’s evil eye cast
like a round darkness forming
on her father’s shaven chin
she remembers over the fisherman’s
blues a scintilla of sea whistles
his yellowed loosened teeth

how she was caught without
bait without nectar how later
frightened she yanked the serpent
out of her as it hid
like a fern’s fiddlehead
in the corner of her bedroom
—she runs to the sea barefoot

the sea doesn’t believe her
and in the forest the bluebells
handlessly knead her as she pleads
on the paper tears of bougainvillea
she hadn’t known sooner
another beast—and when the hero
learns of the seaman daughter’s fate

the hero along with the father bring
shovels and stones shoveling
he says that’s not how it happened
each man believes him
they pack her in and light a smoke
and silently start
mounting the stones.



Photograph by Samantha Neugebauer

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