Fish in Winter


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Ana Pugatch is an MFA candidate studying poetry at GMU, where she also teaches composition and literature. She has a B.A. in English from Skidmore, and an Ed.M. in "Language and Literacy" from  [+]

Image of Short Circuit #01

After school my brother slinks
into the blue shade of the pines.

Every year it seems, he slips
and falls on the ice: bruised
kneecaps, scrapes on his palms,
the wind knocked clean out of him.

He slips but is slow to help himself
back up. He finally stands—
a tall willow bending toward
a frozen pond.

He thinks of the bottom of the lake,
and how it’s dark, and whether or not
there are dozens of fish down there,
languid silver or white.

These fish have no breath, only lidless eyes
that look side to side. They don’t mind
the icy layer between their realm
and the sun.

He skates over them every year.
And every year he wonders
if they’re real, or just figments
of metallic fish

swimming behind his eyes, as they move
side to side, as he skates over the ice.

15

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