Elegy for a Fish-as-Weathervane
Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, MA
You were meant for a different blue,
you cod, mackerel, trout, or just idea
of fish, hoisted up, spiked through
the center to test, of all things, air.
Beached in sky, sun beaten, tarnished,
a shred of cloud caught in your gasping
mouth, your turning an illusion of motion
so close to the one for which you were born.
No schools for you there, in that lonely,
elevated place, only its perpetual piercing—
you alien among birds with your useless gills,
useless fins. Caught, darling. Trophy. Stranded
so close to God, you spin in the place
where prayers rise, where dreams of home
take wind and take hold of you like hooks
yanking you—now this way, now that.
LAUREN K. ALLEYNE is the author of two collections of poetry, Difficult Fruit (Peepal Tree Press 2014), and Honeyfish (New Issues & Peepal Tree, 2019). Her work has appeared in numerous publications including the New York Times, The Atlantic, Ms. Muse, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Interviewing the Caribbean, and the Crab Orchard Review. Recent honors for her work include a 2017 Philip Freund Alumni Prize for Excellence in Publishing (Cornell University), the 2016 Split This Rock Poetry Prize, and a Picador Guest Professorship in Literature (University of Leipzig, Germany, 2015). She is currently the assistant director of the Furious Flower Poetry Center and an associate professor of English at James Madison University. Twitter Handle: @poetLKA
Natalie Giarratano is the author of Big Thicket Blues (Sundress Publications, 2017) and Leaving Clean, winner of the 2013 Liam Rector First Book Prize in Poetry (Briery Creek Press, 2013). Her poems have appeared in Beltway Poetry, Tupelo Quarterly, Tinderbox, and American Literary Review, among others. She edits and lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, with her partner and daughter and is the city’s poet laureate.