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“To See Small Fish in High Branches”

Book Excerpt: Small Fish in High Branches

To See Small Fish
in High Branches

My eyeballs’ curvature feathers the forest.
I choose precision binoculars,
barium glass crisping texture and edge.
This crystal amplifies the air’s flux
of lumens, gathers them up
like stray contours and plumes.
A bird forms in bouquets of light.

Without prisms, I see hawks
circle a blue afternoon, their tails
ablaze; a yellow-mauve iris,
the veins of its beard geometric
etching on sepal; the fluttering hem
of a cloudy lake; the startling girth
of a heron’s nest lofted in sycamore.

The heron nestlings call for glass.
Its mesmeric gaze. To pierce the sky,
to see the heads bob, the parents’
talons, their powder down, the blue-
grey vigil as they tend the glossy
chicks — nebs, and tongues, and glints
of small fish in high branches.

“To See Small Fish in High Branches”

Copyright © 2022 by Annette Sisson. Excerpted from Small Fish in High Branches. All rights reserved. Nashvillian Annette Sisson’s poems have appeared in Birmingham Poetry Review, Nashville Review, and One. Her chapbook, A Casting Off, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2019. She was named a Mark Strand Poetry Scholar for the 2021 Sewanee Writers’ Conference, 2020 BOAAT Writing Fellow, and winner of The Porch’s 2019 poetry prize.

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