The catfish are the Bozos of the bottom,
Blundering from ledges, bumping into me,
Their whiskers slashing my skirt into circus pennants.
Their heads are rocks split across the middle,
Mouths opening slowly as if levered.
They are ugly and regal and harmless,
Even when I forget where I am and startle them
By lifting the sword from the sand
And sending it to the surface before me.
The bass scatter. I speared one once.
The fish scales glittered on the blade
As it broke through the horizon into airy earth.
I have forgotten my life on that earth.
Eelgrass circles my thighs; tadpoles catch
In my earlobes. Larger serpents stay away
From this end of my home, so my way
Is littered with clowns, pre-frogs, watersnakes
Winding like tiny cut braids through patches of sun.
I rarely look to the sky, to that sun
Now that I am running this dark show,
Sinking my dreams into emotions I must
Master like the catfish does the crevices
Where he can hide from his prey. I love
To laugh, and I have discovered how
Without drowning or inhaling algae,
Or being even the least bit unladylike.