Wish Fish

One of those windless August nights
when the local wolves decide to serenade the moon
instead of blaming it, and the whales join in.

How long the song goes on.

Then swish, the mermaid wish becomes anything
we hope we need or want.
And granted, I’m only letting on everything
between kite tails & live bait.
And by now you’re busy explaining you chose
to emerge off Nova Scotia because
you didn’t want to make too much of a splash.

We stop talking, start playing either end of our line −
alertly reeling it in or gently running it out
but maintaining rod control no matter who or what
might end up overboard first.
                                                     Finally, who can ever
handle the ambidextrous exceptions between
fins & feathers or scales & tails?

Lifting, adrift, afloat & gone again
in the ocean of our own music, suddenly just us.

Then this lovely silver longing barely moving,
just a moment in the moonlight.

Bill Howell

Bill Howell, one of the original Storm Warning poets, has had a literary career spanning five decades. His work appears regularly in journals and anthologies across Canada, in the UK, Australia, Sweden, Japan, and the US. Born in Liverpool, England, he grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and has lived in Toronto for more than half his life. Bill was a network producer-director at CBC Radio Drama for three decades. Ranging from the lyrical to the ironic, his poetry deploys colloquial language, deliberate narrative, and a sharp sense of the focused moment. Recent work: Canadian Literature, Dalhousie Review, Great Lakes Review, Literary Review of Canada, The Orchards Poetry Journal, Queen’s Quarterly, Stand, Tokyo Poetry Journal, Two Thirds North, and White Wall Review. His latest collection, The Way Things Are at the Moment, will be released later this year by the American publisher, Kelsay Books.