Inside the knotted plastic bag he tossed
and caught in front of him the whole way home
were two new fish. They seemed to him to bear
a trademark not quite rare, as though the two
were penknife souvenirs from the next county.
The fish were alien and mediocre.
He felt his strength as if it were a bomb
that detonates with no complexity
of wires or clocks, fuse or even impact.
His tosses changed without much thought to heaves.
They arced, slowed, hung like miniature flames
trapped in a bubble, glanced the power lines . . .
The fish sped back an inch and forth an inch
in the bag cupped in the boy’s hands, and then
not in his hands at all, then on the grass.
He rolled the bag experimentally
over the gravel drive to demonstrate
again how well he kept from breaking it.
He hung it on a stick and jabbed the air
fitfully, like a hobo shooing bees.
He did his undecided best to burst
and also not to burst the bag. And when
within these limits neither fish had died,
the boy put down the bag and went inside.
See page 206. From "The Swallow Anthology of New American Poets." Edited by David Yezzi. Gotta love your local public library.