(with apologies to Carl Sandburg)
Cow Butcher for the world, silver fish, eater of meat, swimmer in water and the world’s weirdest fear;
jaw-y, toothy, hungry, City of the Big Piranhas.
They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I have seen your silver teeth under the rippling water luring the cows
And they tell me you are hungry and I answer: Yes, it is true I have seen the piranha kill and eat and kill again.
And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the bones of cattle & goats I have seen the marks of your wanton hunger.
And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at this my river, and I give them back the sneer and say to them:
Come and show me another fish with toothy mouth singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
Flinging starving jaws at the roil of piling body on body. Here is a tall bold explorer set vivid against the little soft water;
Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness,
Bareheaded, exploring, wrecking, striding,
Under the jungle canopy, dust all over his mouth, laughing with white teeth,
Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs,
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has never lost a battle,
Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse, and under his ribs the heart of the people,
half-naked, sweating, proud
until the piranha eats him all up.
by Anne Perry, 'the David Mitchell of man-eating-fish-poetry-world.'