Once, people believed gods dwelt here:
the waterways that fringe the fens.
They made offerings
of brooches, bronze daggers, embroidered bridles –
placed them at the invisible thresholds
where land and water meld. These days
the only river gods are eels, my votives
bits of roadkill to lure them inside my traps.
Vagrant spirits, eels slip in and out
of different realms, can sidle over
dew-tipped grass, crawl up the throats of estuaries,
where their gills taste the fizz of brine.
In my sleep I swim with them to their spawning ground,
the Sargasso Sea, where kelp weaves snares
for ships, makes men go mad with thirst.
Here Spanish marineros threw horses overboard –
sacrifices to the Virgin, or whatever deities
would listen to their rasping prayers.
Then my dreams are filled with whinnies,
thrashing necks, fetlocks snapped like matches,
and below, the eels, circling, circling.