The Sunfish – Donald Junkins

Slim without diet, he moves toward worms like an early bird.
Soft nibbler, heckler of fishermen, this busyfish hits
and runs. He cleans the steel hook like a dimwit.

Children love him under boats among the yellow weeds
and under the green shade of wharves for his backbone;
they dangle bait on lines that will not sound his greed.

It is all done by touch. From overhead they cannot
see his soft mail shading into black and blue,
his blood-daubed cheek, his belly orange as spawn, the hue

of silver fading toward his tail. This pip, this pun
is the harlequin of the pond. Out of the water
he fades like leather. All anglers fish for the sun.

[from Crossing By Ferry, Poems New & Selected, The University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, 1978]

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