Sestina

by Sophie Stephenson-Wright

Weeds dance gently in the greenish
River, spreading nets to catch
The muddy sticklebacks,
Who watch as tickled pebbles
Squirm away from pulling water,
Bursting in their effort to keep still.

Alongside, slacks lie brackish, still,
And everything hides green
And cool behind the heavy water
While the dark dead leaves catch
In the stillness, beached on pebbles,
Trying vainly to swim back.

Browning algae, seeping up the back-
Bones of damp reeds; it’s spreading still
And mottled like the pebbles
Blooming soft, wet green
And sifting, caught on catches
Cankerous and sticky through the water.

Other things lie buried, watery
And hidden like the sticklebacks,
Who heavy, watch the minnows catching
Mayflies, until battlefields lie still
And floating, drifting down to greenish
Mulch that drowns the anchored pebbles.

Just listen to the sound of chatting pebbles,
Chattering with gossip, washed and watery
That lie about, blushed green
And pulled, uprooted, and then rested back
By streams of water, quickly still,
Then waiting once more to be caught.

Small things are carried, catch
The light from sun-reflecting pebbles,
Flicker in and out, and still
The soft-ish sound of water
Falling thorugh and flooded green,
Impetuous, refusing to come back;

The greenish stream plays catch up,
Calling back those sun-smoothed pebbles
Snatched by water that just won’t be still.