Poetry Porch: Poetry


By Hilary Sallick

              Ipharadisi, where all the dead are living
              May we one day join them all there

                      — South African freedom song

There was an orange fish       large and round
among the waters
of the shore         Curious I took her up
into my arms

I carried her     along the pier
then farther away
She looked up at me as we went
I saw she could breathe

I was walking up the steps
of the subway       past a group
of soldiers       young men hanging out
on the landing       There was no threat
when they spoke to me       They were
curious       I kept going

Then we were in the Square
among many people
She said       (and by now       that
she spoke was hardly a surprise)
I like it here       and       Itís not lonely

I thought of the sea       the water teeming
around beds of coral       the
life everywhere unknown to
me       then I imagined
a solitary existence
far below in darkness

As anything is everything       so
it will be in paradise

The orange round strangely cuddly
fish is child self cousin
ghost       not just one
not just the living or the dead
but one of all       all of one
and alone       the same for each of us

Last night I sang to a grieving man
in the car driving him home       I tried to offer
something into his dark solitude
He listened
patiently       a little curious

Yes       he said       Thank you
but I canít prove it scientifically

We both know that

I remember the moment of reaching
for her       how I took hold of her
with surprising ease       She
was passive languid washed
by the waves       nosing
freely among them
She accepted my touch

I lifted her dripping       soon
held her closer
soon       felt a response from
her       a nuzzle       then
a gaze       then
a voice

So I circle       back and back
going forward
so we join each other

Tonight I saw the full moon rising
large and round and orange
the color of the fish
floating up into cloud       among the waters
of the sky

I want to tell you
I had an interesting dream this
morning       the part of me
that dreams       was
alone under the watery
surface       the part
of me       you hold and know

Itís always seemed that way

Copyright © 2020 by Hilary Sallick.