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a fish is a glissom clot of blood and tissue wrapped in scale mail

moving in endless loops in the bowl where the glass is wrought to

              a cool sleekness if touched, a hollow soundness if tapped,

a fish is light, bent and irradiated into gossamer fins and a frothsome tail

              and threaded throthsome through gills like horizon edges and

              scooped out of a filthy tank of its fulsome siblings

for eighteen cents, so a fish is by weight

perhaps the cheapest animal life

              available readily for purchase.

a fish is a holy heart and a swelling swim bladder and empty eyes

              and the need to keep moving, moving—

              eventually a fish is frightful and ghoulsome, a bloated ghost of decay,

thrown into the toilet or the trash or the brambly bushes,


a fish is found lightly because it is fairly low-effort.

a fish is lonesome and lowsome and

fairly low-effort but always too much

             responsibility, way more

             wretched responsibility than eighteen easy cents implies.

a fish is leonine and lurid and ragged and wrothsome with its

              black and gold, its saffron and pearl, its eyes

that are hemispheres or whelped worlds. a fish is in theory

trying really hard to survive in a curved crucible of a world it was

              brightsome born into but not designed for.

a fish is gluttish and glothsom and will gobble food

until it’s gaily doomed to agonish death.

a fish is cells endlessly limned and layered in some fishy blueprint,

              not knowing where it lives or limns or where it’s going or given,

              endless bowlbound

loops, a too-small tank, water that’s whirlsome and stillsome and

              hard to breathe, endless loops for survival, this fish,

              this lissome grace,

this gracesome goldfish, so greaved and griven, so lived and living.

Listen to Natasha read "Goldsome Fish" below:

00:00 / 02:18
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NATASHA KING is a Vietnamese American writer and nature enthusiast. Her poetry has appeared in Okay Donkey, Ghost City Review, and others, and has also been featured in the 2020 Best of the Net Anthology. In her spare time, she enjoys writing, prowling, and thinking about the ocean.

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