Spring 2012 - THE POTOMAC

  Shelley Puhak

The lake, man-made, where
I learned to ice-skate—
was it ever idyllic?—

hasn't frozen through since.
I find it clouded green in
winter, overrun by Asian carp,

offspring of a dumped aquarium.
Just one mother-carp, silent,
transplanted into silt:

plants, fish, oxygen. Never enough.
She darkens every pool she skims
through, heavy-bodied cyprinid,

ravenous and rapidly reproducing.
The offspring she doesn't eat
breach the Mississippi and now

skirt Lake Michigan's shoreline.
Some suggest: eat the invaders. But first,
rename them. Kentucky Tuna, Silverfin.

Just how Slimehead became Orange
Roughy, Patagonian Toothfish is now
Chilean Sea Bass. And Mother

a shorthand for Love. Even if, somewhere
in the bottom of a load of laundry, where
our memories mesh, mine will

overtake, supplant your own. Mine.
And mine. And never enough.

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