A fish bellows into a pond she is a man. Two men enter, pucker their lips but don’t kiss. Water drinks rain. Your sobs are windchimes in a rainforest. I adore mirrors or anything that reflects. I reflect on the sunfish balling its fins into fists. The two men finally kiss. The pond misses wetness and motion, cancels reflections. I find myself in the glass beads on your wrist. Your fingers pinch a fig. Love wells like a cyst, a kernel of fruit. All objects transmute. You eat all the soft spots, yeast, rind juice, mould. I eat your frozen tears like a fish.
I am myself unlike myself. A flicker of a body. A buna, monarch-orange, pregnant with beechnuts, bends by a body of water, an episodic river. Fall has begun its slow murder. Sun arrives like a leopard speckled in blizzard clouds. Do not look up, but, bark-on-bark, etch the poem of echoes & sweet, soft lands. Water is my mother today. Creamy foam, frothing falls, flash of eels, distant oxbow. Plunge into its toothless mouth. Span my arms. Mid-air, I grow alulas & a pink bill flecking black. Godwit, my body. I aviate into another season. Pinnae of light. Lightness of life, pollen carried by wind into the night of a body eclipsed by another body.
Shannan Mann is an Indian-Canadian writer. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rattle, Rust + Moth, Wildness, Frontier, and Humber Literary Review. She was a finalist for the Frontier 2021 Award for New Poets and has been nominated for the 2022 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. Her play “Milkbath” was selected as the resident production of the Toronto Paprika Theatre Festival. You can find her at https://www.instagram.com/shannanmania.