I imagined it as a child – the world
as prehistoric sludge. No one
to genuflect. No fields of woolly
sheep by the Irish Sea. No high
speed trains or later-life Picasso

shows. I remember the fifty
pound catfish Jericho Higgins
brought to the newsroom. A giant
catch, like one of the first creatures
to emerge from ancient slime,

we plastered it on the front page
& sold extra copies that week.
The catfish, we call them mudcats,
is toothless. Fills his belly
by fastening to quick-moving

objects with a hideous sucker
mouth. Doesn’t need the top
layer of the lake where light shifts
to faceted fragments but finds
sustenance near silt & pearly

mussels. Scaleless, a mudcat does not
glisten as beautifully as a lake
sturgeon. But oh, this fat bottom
feeder, glowing white & pale yellow
from the belly, is lion of our dark currents.