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That dash and turn like glitter

Jenny Haysom’s “Minnowing,” published in the Arc Poetry Annual 2012: Poet vs. Poet, won the 2011 Diana Brebner Prize.

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~ Jenny Haysom

for Lucy


Long-legged at the shore, she steps

and dips her net.

Across the lake, a heron

divines his dinner.


My daughter follows the minnows and their synchronous

shadows — sparks that dash and

turn like glitter, fountaining

out of reach.

On the dock, a Mason jar

filled with lake-water, furnished with weeds, rocks and one fine

flake of mica — home for the day if your name is Topaz,

Flash or Pandora,

each fish — translucent — striped

deep in the centre with a miniature

backbone of silver.


I look up from my book,

wish to capture

my daughter like this: intent

yet idle, her grace taken shape in time’s

fluid material, there in the shallows —

minnowing —

a weave of sunlight

loose at her ankles.


Reprinted by permission.

Read Jenny’s reflection on Diana Brebner’s work and influence in the Arc Poetry Annual 2012: Poet vs Poet.