Sandra Beasley

The Fish

Bullet dodged, meant your thrust. Another: Load the gun.


You bit my shoulder and I thought Turn, turn and fire—


those nights we barely surfaced from sleep to go at it,


pulling each into the other’s half-dreamed agenda: Liftoff.


Touchdown in ten yards. Umbrella, unfurling in hard rain.


For two months I felt the drift of your hand to my thigh


as fish, fish, fish, Japanese tails muscling through unseen water.


Always, the body just an alias for something more urgent—


one morning sex was a fist pounding on the submarine hatch;


once you reported our fuck rescued a dozen Croatian children.


Once you tried to call it making love and I said I don’t think


that counts, what we do. Now my room is silent, save for


three fish plucking their gold mouths at the water’s skin.


They make it look easy—that blind gasp for something


you need. O, O, O. They make it look like breathing.



“The Fish” is from Theories of Falling (New Issues, 2008).