The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Honeyfish by Lauren K. Alleyne


The catch is so fresh, each bite is blue—
the sea still in it, and settling on your tongue

like prayer. This is what it means to eat,
you think, to abandon utensils for the grace

of fingers, to hold flesh against flesh,
hands slick with what will become

inseparable from your own thrumming
body. As a child, you loved fry dry,

the small fish you ate whole, and imagined
them swimming in you, your belly

full as an ocean. Now you know better—
that nothing consumed lives on as before.

When the bone, thin as a wish,
lodges itself in the pink flesh of your mouth,

refuses offerings of bread or water,
becomes an ache that will not be moved,

you understand: this is what it means
to be a body—that what is taken in

takes root in ways beyond your choosing—
a single bite and you carry the ocean in your throat.

This selection comes from the book, Honeyfish, available from New Issues Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Natalie Giarratano.

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 PoetryTupelo 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. 

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