The Fish and the Ring

Body of water

Under the brackish water
I moved like grass.
If you had seen it — the sea robins
the cusk eels, the squid, the amberjack
the red and gold made brown by blue and green —
I was the baron first. I was the blood
by the oil reefs.
I ate a thousand things which became me. I ate
the moon in the sea. Cold fluid silver.
And yes, I ate your ring. To me
it was the sun. I have my own way to love the world.
Still, I would never beg to live.
I grinned for your small knife. I unfolded
and my myotomal muscles opened wide
with gilded edges. Read me like a book.
What’s mine is here.
What’s yours was mine.
Parsley, radishes, warm plate, white wine —
Still, my dear and ugly jaw on the table laughs.
My sweet tissues are rich with waste.
You can have the ring.
Lots have been cast.
I remember the carnelian
of a million spawn.
I remember how all those million
turned into one.
I remember the first taste of metal
on my beloved tongue.
It all comes back.


Poem by Thomas Winfield Marie Nufher


Thomas Winfield Marie Nuhfer (he/him and she/hers) is a poet and biologist from Tucker, Georgia. He received a BA in Biology & History from Marlboro College, and currently lives in Marlboro, Vermont.