The barbelled male with wide lugubrious head
seems poised, or somewhat poised, as I gaze down.
It’s the first warm day of spring.
Not so the female. She does move, ahead,
upstream with muscular decisive-seeming venturings,
or in a skirting semicircle to the left.
But always she returns, resumes herself above
(perhaps of my imagining)
a fin-washed hollow in the sand.
On and on I stand,
taking in the male’s
periodic rigid shuddering
and once, just once, as if in secret ritual,
the other tilting on her side, her every scale
drawing down and deepening the sun
before returning it, a sudden gleam of bronze.
Roger Craik is Emeritus Professor of English at Kent State University in Ohio. He was born in Leicester, studied at the universities of Reading and Southampton, and taught as a Fulbright Scholar in Bulgaria and Romania. His latest full-length poetry book is Down Stranger Roads (2014).