by Lee Nash
You carry it in on your palm-stretcher,
a brittle-spit, a kicked-out life-in-a-stick,
all stuttering beak and shattered spindle,
like a rickety dollhouse staircase.
You order an ornamental cage
for its fortunate incarceration
so it can continually see your face
as a cherub constantly beholds God.
Safe, it muddies our pool, divides our nation,
sprays our stippled wallpaper with feces,
dive-bombs foreheads, pecks at sockets,
with a maddened look in its tetchy eye.
You feed it dead mosquitoes;
my ears are boxed to its vexed chacker.
It crashes into metal bars. From a cloud,
a congregation, I hear you murmur,
You have no empathy for the bird.
I want more details about the fish.
Jesus, in his resurrection body,
cooks an impromptu breakfast.
I assume they are not red herrings.
They are probably sardines
(the Sea of Galilee is full of them)
or barbels or musht. They were not
eels or prawns, let us establish that.
Are they lying on a bed of coals,
or impaled on wood for masgûf?
“Big fish” (presumably not sardines),
153 of them, are pulled up on the shore.
I want more details about the body,
this flesh and bone, how it digests these fish
now we’ve dispensed with blood –
having made it through Leviticus
(all those livers) and past the crucifixion.
Not getting what I want, it must be possible,
permissible, to rake over their remains,
find a suitable bone for a needle,
run a thread from Genesis to Revelation
through its eye. Lord. Should I draw blood.
LEE NASH lives in France and freelances as an editor and proofreader. Her poems have appeared in print and online journals including Acorn, Ambit, Angle, Magma, Mezzo Cammin, Orbis, Poetry Salzburg Review, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, The French Literary Review, The Heron’s Nest, and The Lake. Her first poetry chapbook, Ash Keys, is published by Flutter Press. You can find a selection of Lee’s poems on her website: leenashpoetry.com
Featured Image: “Miracle Fish” by J. James Tissot