A Fall from Grace

by S. Thomas Summers
Desert Moon Review
Second Place, June 2008
Judged by Patricia Smith


Grandpa scales the fish before
he removes its head or slices
a thin line up its belly, spilling

blood and water. He lodges
his thumb deep in its throat,
between gills — clenches

his fist around the skull.
Jagged tool, a spoon with teeth,
tears shimmer from flesh:

a rainbow ripped from the soft
air that lingers after morning storms.
The tail curls toward the sun. Lidless

eyes, still moist, leak disbelief.
This is death. Gills flare like butterflies
fanning purple wings. I ask

if it hurts. Grandpa says
Little bit, just a little bit.


Stark, concise and deliciously image-driven, this minute gem is lush and unerringly focused. The underlying tale grows larger and more complex with each reading--and with each reading, this poem feels like a gift on the open air. --Patricia Smith

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