"Ring Around the Blue Atlas Cedar"
by Jane Marshall

Fish Dreams

August slipped in through the window
and slept heavy in my bed.  
The sheets stuck to me like damp tape.  
The table fan hummed a lullaby.  
I turned my pillow over, propped it up, 
and fell asleep reading Jack London.

Three children died beside the frozen lake today: 
Charlie, Mick and me.  
It was after Charlie caught a fish through the hole in the ice.  
By the time Mick arrived the fish had lost its flops and was frozen.   
So was Charlie.

Mick put the fish in his pocket, pulled Charlie by the collar
across the lake like a sled, propped him up against a tree
and sat down beside him. 

Little puffs of smoke like cartoon character balloons
floated out of Mick's mouth with each sigh. 
Finally his eyes closed and the puffs stopped.
I walked over to the tree, put the fish in my pocket,
knelt in the snow and kissed them both on the cheek.
Then I sat down beside them and didn't get up.

©Charles Ghigna


  1. An arresting poem, Charles...so sad, yet almost surreal. I seem to recall seeing this before, somewhere. Is it published?

  2. Thanks, Matt. Excellent recollection! This poem is part of a new dream sequence from my new verse novel in progress. I posted a passage in an earlier blog.

    1. This poem is easy to recollect! Looking forward to seeing the novel.

  3. It definitely has a dream-like quality to it, and a feeling of regret.

    A verse novel? I look forward to it.