- Kind: Perfectbound
- Pages: 144
- Language: English
- Date Published: November 2016
- ISBN: 978-1-939929-66-2
Feeling for Fish
Even in daylight, in murky waters,
as the ooze slides between your toes,
you can sense them around you, cautious,
curious, nosing up close,
and often, swimming at night, you feel
small ones nip at your flesh,
then flick away with a little swirl.
But to make your catch,
lie in the dark on a weedy ledge
where the bank drops off sharply,
and troll your arm over the edge
into the blind water.
You’ll feel them nudging, cruising about;
then one will strike your hand: quick,
cock your thumb in the gills, hook
your fingers through the mouth
and wrestle the slippery, thrashing thing
out of its element into your own.
Later you’ll find raw streaks the teeth have torn
and aching little holes from fins,
but you’ll never use hook or net again;
you’ll keep feeling back into black water,
and one night sooner or later
you’ll wade out deep for the big one.
Leonard Trawick grew up in Alabama, a child of the Depression and World War II. He attended the University of the South (Sewanee) and received graduate degrees in English from the University of Chicago and Harvard. During the 1960s he taught English in the graduate school and the School of General Studies at Columbia University. In 1969 he and his wife Kerstin moved with their children Eleanor and Matthew to Cleveland, Ohio. From that time until his retirement in 2000 he taught English literature and creative writing at Cleveland State University. For twenty years he was principal editor for the CSU Poetry Center, eventually editing some 120 poetry books, many of them the first volumes of young poets who went on to stellar literary careers. He was founding coeditor of The Gamut, a general-interest quarterly journal sponsored by CSU—a position he held for twelve years. In addition to two chapbooks and poems in a number of magazines and anthologies, he is author/artist of Beastmorfs, a collection of concrete poetry using various forms of this genre. Since retiring, he has pursued his lifetime avocation of drawing and painting.