June 2015

In the Works

        by Moira Linehan


Clamped crosswise in the heron’s bill—a sunfish,

squirming to get free. At least an hour

the great blue had stared into the pond,

watching for it to show. Will now stand as statue

until it stops. But even then, won’t eat,

will first lower the fish back into the water

to make sure not a tremor of breath’s left.

Or is it to rinse death’s smell from its scales?

What’s ever clear? A bird’s daily devotions,

like this one: flip the fish lengthwise, slide it whole

down each inch of its long elongated

throat. An afterlife, already in the works:

fish into heron. And I, too, the bird

lifting wings, lifting them, lifting from this

narrow yard. I, too, taking to the sky.



Moira Linehan is the author of two collections, If No Moon and Incarnate Grace, both from Southern Illinois University Press.  She lives in Winchester, MA.