Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Deryn Rees-Jones

THE FISH

THE FISH

THE FISH

I go to sleep with the taste of you, and this is not the first time

for you are too much with me. And these are your hands,
in the darkness. This is the rough shape of
your face, only. Your hair, your ear, your thigh.
            And then, out of nowhere, your tongue like a hot little fish
a blue fish, glinting electrics,
a fish accustomed to basking, I suppose,
in the clear hot waters of some tropical isle.
Not an ordinary fish, not a fish I could haul from the waters, or not easily.
Not a fish accustomed to travelling in solitude,
but one used to a rainbow accompaniment,
one used to the sea’s depths, and her sulky harbourings.
One used to the rockpools and the undertow, the colour of sands.
And, how suddenly you swam into me!
           And was it your mouth, or the memory of your mouth?
Or was it a fish? Whatever it was, it was there.
There in the bloodstream, bruising artery, vein,
as it swam,
heading, no doubt, for the heart.
Then you stopped it,
                   for you knew it would have killed me,
and it basked in the blue pools of my elbow, where you
stroked it for a while;
then you asked it to dart, from my hips up my spine,
you asked it to wander to the tilt of my breastbone
where tickled, like a salmon, it leapt
           it leapt;
you asked it to journey from my shoulder to my neck, to that soft place
behind my ears
where you solemnly forbade it, asked it instead to
rest for a while, and then turn back,
saying Fish, fish, my brilliant fish
         and somehow I can’t
remember now

on the furthermost tip of my tongue, like a dream.
  
Close

THE FISH

I go to sleep with the taste of you, and this is not the first time

for you are too much with me. And these are your hands,
in the darkness. This is the rough shape of
your face, only. Your hair, your ear, your thigh.
            And then, out of nowhere, your tongue like a hot little fish
a blue fish, glinting electrics,
a fish accustomed to basking, I suppose,
in the clear hot waters of some tropical isle.
Not an ordinary fish, not a fish I could haul from the waters, or not easily.
Not a fish accustomed to travelling in solitude,
but one used to a rainbow accompaniment,
one used to the sea’s depths, and her sulky harbourings.
One used to the rockpools and the undertow, the colour of sands.
And, how suddenly you swam into me!
           And was it your mouth, or the memory of your mouth?
Or was it a fish? Whatever it was, it was there.
There in the bloodstream, bruising artery, vein,
as it swam,
heading, no doubt, for the heart.
Then you stopped it,
                   for you knew it would have killed me,
and it basked in the blue pools of my elbow, where you
stroked it for a while;
then you asked it to dart, from my hips up my spine,
you asked it to wander to the tilt of my breastbone
where tickled, like a salmon, it leapt
           it leapt;
you asked it to journey from my shoulder to my neck, to that soft place
behind my ears
where you solemnly forbade it, asked it instead to
rest for a while, and then turn back,
saying Fish, fish, my brilliant fish
         and somehow I can’t
remember now

on the furthermost tip of my tongue, like a dream.
  

THE FISH

Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère