The Lost Psalms of the Bluegill People
from The Ringtail Gospels
In the time when fish had voices, God let the bluegill choose the names and write the songs. God let the ringtails have their will.
The raccoons cannot sing and they cannot abide a rhyme.
This is why the most holy word for the color of the grass-bottomed water growing at the mouth of the hatching spring has been lost.
Were a fish ever to sing again, it is said, the note would be the color of that word and every last creature would be returned to what they were before.
Even the raccoons do not know what they were before.
The adolescents are convinced by their flutters of desire that they were the first cabbage whites of spring.
The pregnant sows think they remember when they were larvae in the dirt.
The young boars were once like wolves only sharper and more silver. Certainly they were the ones who cut the songs from the fish and now they are the ones will never be sorry.
A broken-hearted ringtail can always be found on a limb over the water demanding in sorrow, Undo what we have done and let loose the word. Then, with rage, I will it so.