No Small Thing

Low tide, end of May, Sligo’s “shelly” river reveals its catch among rocks & reeds. Gulls drift lazy overhead—stillness trembles in shallows below—a flicker is enough to ignite hunger in one gull descending to pick the river’s pocket—fish or eel, wriggling wildly until the gull drops to the cobbled street, trying to swallow it in one gulp—yet, the air, delicate and tenuous, gives this creature a way to escape the bird’s throat—out it comes to the shriek of a woman sitting at an outdoor table. She tips her tea. A snake. She gasps, grabbing hold of my daughter’s arm, who is equally startled by this sudden spew of eel at her feet, and the gull wheels about reclaiming its pleasure— ascending to the pub’s white chimney where it swallows it (again) without a spill.

M. J. Iuppa’s fourth poetry collection is This Thirst (Kelsay Books, 2017). For the past 29 years, she has lived on a small farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. Check out her blog: for her musings on writing, sustainability & life’s stew.

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