Eeling

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Pearlised shadows
under the Tilley lamp.
Nothing.
Only river phlegm, a serpenty masquerade.

Short, grey, luminous snouts.
Intelligent dogs’ heads
that weave and sneak into rock crevices.
Pinned down with tridents
they mimic water currents.
Bashed with their own camouflage
of stones, thrashed with sticks,
exhorted to give up
the struggle and die.

Die you slippery bastard!
Noting the truth about eels firsthand.
Three in the bag still ticking.
Six get away through water and eel grass,
land-rushing, doubling back;
marine foxes.

Carrying back small cauldrons
of eel country
blood-warm in our boots,
through the stumble of night paddocks;
mouths watering.

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