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Fish Eggs

by Leland Kinsey

So you fished each of the Three Forks,
rediscovering The Corps’ discovery.
I wish I could cover those waters with you.
Yes, I went to Labrador again,
fished the upper reaches of the Atikonak
for brook trout, grandes rouges they call them,
and ouananiche. My arms ached
one day from catching and releasing.
I landed one toward day’s end
in a long fast riffle, as others swam
upstream, backs out of the water,
between my legs and all around.
I slipped the two long sets of eggs
out of the belly of the big red,
and set them on a rock.
The eggs had the color and look
of the drupelets of cloudberries
I’d gathered in my creel
at the edges of string bogs.
The eggs and berries were to be my gift
to the Inuit woman
who cooked my evening meals.
I turned to wash the spine blood
from my catch, half a minute,
and when I turned back, a gull sat
where the eggs had been,
a slight gel coating beneath its webbed toes.
Eggs and no gull noticed,
gull and no eggs to be seen,
no one’s rights involved,
just, quick as that,
life’s magic


Leland Kinsey has published five collections of poetry, most recently In the Rain Shadow (University Press of New England, 2004) and Sledding on Hospital Hill (Godine, 2003). Since receiving his degrees, he has worked as a farmhand, printer, horse trainer, maple sugar maker, and Elderhostel instructor in writing, birding, astronomy, and canoeing. He lives near the Canadian border with his wife and three children. (4/2006)

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