To a Mummified Fish

               —Museo Egizio, Turin

by Mitch VanAcker

Down surging watercourse,
swept from your silent blue home,
you became a prop
for our old dilemma
wrangled, wrapped, and rescued
from your guts.

Your drum-tight skin
leafs beneath cloth and honey-lacquer
to snare the spirit of holy dregs,
fleshpots, sweet incense at interval
in the morning air
capped from the widening jaws
of the moon-door.

On behalf of my friend, the sun
(author of many gods)
and the priestess
who poached you
from oblivion,
Little fish, I’m sorry.

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