the fishmonger

In my dream we are terrible fish
mouths slicing our cheeks
as we siphon kelp
Sometimes we hide in the green
from the ripple and flash
of the diver and her mask
Then over the ledge
through the dark water we fall
watched by The Old Man of Hoy

And the sea hides us
under her chop and swell
But that diver with her lens
has followed us down –
down down down down
past the horrible present
and the absurd tolling knell

What are the secrets
I will never uncover
even with a camera and a knife?

Now that the ferryman is gone
all that remains is your absence
and the shadow of the woman in the rubber suit

And still that diver shines images
floats them to me
in memory of your mouth –

widened in death
so that instead of a pucker for a kiss
or the broadness of a smile
just a gaping black oh

In remembrance of your lips –
now the surreal purple of live labia
their applied colour offed by holy palmers
not content to finger your clothes
the stone from Arran hidden between you clasped hands
or the Black Watch blanket over your legs

They brush your mouth with theirs
leaving you in a mounted bass contortion
Beautiful work to some
an unearthly alum to me

I’d rather a photograph of the salty lick of your tongue
on an ice cream after a walk

All this in the mirror’s extent
the terrible fish
of my own reflection

but I am her and she is me
forever in fins and black rubber
no matter the roll and swell
of dotted ice
double bergs

or the thunderous crack
of Easter melt

~ Anne Sorbie

Anne Sorbie was born in Paisley, Scotland and she lives and writes in Calgary. Her work has appeared in journals such as The Wascana Review, Alberta Views, Geist, and Other Voices, and in the anthology, Home and Away. Anne’s first novel, Memoir of a Good Death (Thistledown Press 2010) was on the long-list for the 2012 Alberta Readers’ Choice Award.

You can read more poems by Anne here.

This poem was read by Anne on November 2,2014, as part of the RE:act Art & Community Together Plus 15 Poetry Shuffle!

One Response to “the fishmonger”

  1. Kudos to Anne Sorbie. An astonishing poem. Her image of labia, in context, is unlike anything I have seen, especially from a woman; although it does put me in mind of Sharon Olds.

    I came across this poem thanks to Bruce Hunter’s post on FaceBook.

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