Out of the darkness the angelfish glides,
Big as a dinner plate. Just a shadow, really, but the tips
Of her wings, even in silhouette, are unmistakable.
And in the very moment I see her, checking me out,
She melts again into the dark.
I’ve been looking for her
For over a month, in this same lagoon
Where years ago there used to be so many more fish.
Some morning soon I’ll come again, earlier.
The water will be clearer.
And I know where she hides.
After a poem by William Stafford
Ingrid Wendt is a writer, pianist, and second alto with Eugene, Oregon’s 12-voice women’s a cappella ensemble, The Motet Singers. Co-editor of the anthology In Her Own Image: Women Working in the Arts (The Feminist Press) and of the Oregon Poetry Anthology From Here We Speak, she is the prizewinning author of five-full length collections of poems, including the Oregon Book Award in Poetry, and has held three Fulbright Professorships in Germany. “Happiness,” patterned after a poem by William Stafford, will be part of her current book-in-progress: poems set in the Yucatan peninsula and in the Oregon. You can find more poems at: http://www.ingridwendt.com
*This poem first appeared in A Ritual to Read Together, Becca J.R. Lachman, ed.,Topeka, KS: Woodley Press, 2014*