A Weighing of the Heart

by Kevin Krause

A diver wades waist deep in the current,
creeps toes along mossed-over stones
labored smooth as if by the stroke
of the Egyptian craftsman—rock planed
at such an angle that might better guide
a god-king to the chambers of Osiris
where the heart is removed and weighed
against a feather—where a catfish lies
in hiding, bubbling its only betrayal.
With each dive the fisherman plunges
headfirst into darkness, punches his hand
into crevices darker still, returns only
when the chestful of air is exhausted
and the specter of suffocation reaches
its thorny fingers down his throat and pulls
him up by the lungs, repeats until at last
he surfaces forearm-deep in catfish,
hoists the beast out by the gut, the body
set whipping on the pivot of his fist.


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