“Every Herring Hangs By Its Own Head”
After they string you up,
you open your gills
like a blessing,
a gasp of unity
with all the others
trapped in the same net.
Wrapped in your sheen
with your fishmouth
and unshuttered eye,
you splash in waves of wind
to the rhythm of remembered water.
Parsing darkness with your finny smell,
you learn the shape of dry space
as the liquid life
shimmers down below.
But everything that cannot swim
begins to drown in sunlight.
Your journey shrinks
as you shrivel.
When evening nails down the day,
you hang cluttering the cool night,
splintering darkness and leaping
at the moon’s white thumbnail.
Copyright 1992, Ruth Daigon
Ruth Daigon was editor of Poets On: (no longer publishing). She just won the 1997 Ann Stanford Poetry Prize awarded by the University of Southern California and also won “The Eve of St. Agnes Award” (Negative Capability) in 1993. Her poems have been published in Shenandoah, Negative Capability, Poet & Critic, Kansas Quarterly, Alaska Quarterly, Greensboro Review, Sycamore Review, Atlanta Review, Poet Lore, and Tikkun. Her latest poetry collection is Between One Future And The Next (Papier-Mache Press, 1995). “Every Hearing Hangs By Its Own Head” first appeared in Zone 3, Vol. 6, No. 3.
Thematic Contents / Vol. 3, No. 1
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