Island Home for Isabelle Huppert (La Truite) Extract by Geraldine Clarkson

After Angela Dufresne

World’s in love with Isabelle.
Where Isabelle goes.
What Isabelle knows.

Isabelle’s ideal’s to live alone in green:
plumped-up on an apple-bottomed sea,
or pear – ooh pear – mon père;
in January to watch the hatchery
flicker with fry, brown-to-silver,
tank full of trout-leap,
trout rinsed of winter sleep;
in spring to write her faux-memoir;
macromère in summer,
with merrywidow hat.

Witness this island re-truite for Isabelle
and her menagerie. Far off: the world
retrains its permagaze on Isabelle,
would-be isolate.

She feels the backlash of the gaze, eyes passing shots,
passing hot through glass and metal, high-rise lenses
with magnification magnifique, pressed-up-close eyes
on top of other eyes; fish-eyes: no pest control.

Aimez-vous your new home, Isabelle? Are you fond of fondue?
Tell us quick, Isabelle, for la vie est courte, and you have the
open air

of one moving backwards, fast.

Isabelle’s own spirit-tiger, limbs thick with lymph
and dusty gold, pussyfoots – dazed and muffled
as an echo – along dizzy walkways, prissy chive-
detailed borders. What are you doing,
honey?, a gaggle of voyeurs-gardeners
make it their business to press and query,
poke and plant, till the tired tiger finds a hollow
within a hollow and lays its stiffening legs
under itself, in the loam, in the primrosy afternoon,
in still April, in no-noise. Fry your cat, it mutters
under meaty breath, retracting shrunken claws into sockets,
sniffing at senescence, eyelids drooping helplessly,
with Africa’s suns imprinting inside; also azure,
and belly-red, and the pure black stripe of a scream.