My Son in the Sea 

Lisa Zerkle


Somehow he knows he can breathe
in both water and air.

See how he grows piscine,
dull on land, iridescent in the deep.

Delicate flesh of my blood and my bone.
How many watery bodies does this world hold?

Men want to examine exactly where
skin meets scale.

You can’t have it both ways,
they say. Choose:

man or fish? Not a man, say the men.
Don’t listen to them, sing the sirens,

preening their feathers
(being as they are

part woman, part bird).
What will the fish say?

Neptune, I’m counting on you
in your grotto of pearl and coral

where divisions are not so brightly lit,
where sea horses are not horses, where

starfish are not fish, but stars.