2. Ruth O`Connell Brown

The Lifecycle of the Eel


We end between the sea and sky: the fens,

the flat land where the river creeps like guilt. White-bellied crabs lie tide-strewn in the bends, and yellow eels turn black beneath the silt. Before, before the mid-March wind, reeds shiver. The mouth-bound elvermen with sturdy nets ignore marsh birds for water thick with slither,

to heave at flesh more salty than their sweat.

On the surface of Sargasso, see, weeds float

like yellow hair, like shifting continents.

Atlantic now, these lungless snakes first wrote their question-mark in mud. We can make sense of space, explain the seasons, and the dawn;

but no one has found out how eels are born.