A Poem by Steven Heighton

New Work

The Last Sturgeon

Deltawave shadows
of his deeds
and didn’ts, slid
under his shoes
like fillet knives, severing
soles from soil,
so he always walked
a little above his life,
not knowing it was
his life, while it waned
from waking-coma
to coma.
                Came a land-­
locked night
he dreamed that he’d
landed the last sturgeon in the world
and she looked bad—
shrunken, bludgeoned,
a blue-ribbed CAT-scan
of herself, her buckled
gills gawping,
a foam of green roe
welling from her mouth.

Each egg
was a tear, a tiny, entreating
vowel he couldn’t quite hear
as he cast round the boat (now morphing
into a mountain shack)
for water, the merest
rainpool, he panicked,
or glacial stream,
my dearest,
my loved one,
let me bear you back
to haven—by river
the ocean
is never far.

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Steven Heighton

Steven Heighton’s most recent books are The Waking Comes Late (poetry, April 2016), and the Trillium Award finalist The Dead Are More Visible (stories). His novel Afterlands was cited on best of year lists in ten publications in Canada, the USA, and the UK, and is in pre-production for film. His stories and poems have appeared in the London Review of Books, Tin House, Zoetrope, Poetry, Best American Poetry, TLR, and five editions of Best Canadian Stories. He is also a fiction reviewer for the New York Times Book Review.