Koi Lesson

Virginia Starrett


Kissing mouths gobbled at crusts
I tossed in here and there,
moving the silvery roil at whim—
my face close to the surface,
their eyes bulging with hunger.

One day they were gone.
Mama screeched I’d as much
as fished them out myself,
my countenance a memory
that drew them upward
to a raccoon’s paws and mouth.


Slivers of light
stab the surface.
I am nearly bursting,
clinging to the bottom,
holding myself down.

Heart edgy, lips burnt,
I’ll not move again toward
inquiring eyes.  I won’t mistake
a bandit’s visage for
saving grace.