My California single girl bedroom:
cinderblock shelves, futon, paper globe light,
wine bottle candlesticks coated with waxy stalactites.
Lacking men to stay the night, I drank in bed. The more
I drank, the larger my glass grew. I waded surf with cabernet
in hand and yearned for love. Until I sipped and found a fish.
Fish! How did you get in my cup?
Jumped! Four feet straight up from snapping beaks.
I could win the Fish Olympics!
What should I do with you, Fish?
Don’t dump me out! Those shags are hungry!
Fish, how do you speak—and why?
Because you’re listening! This is amazing!
Are you real or imaginary?
Do you have some lesson to teach me?
What kind of fish are you?
A talking fish! The best kind!
We talked till Fish’s gills began to dry.
I walked the length of the longest pier,
far from gulls and cormorants, tossed
and watched him flip four times
before he dove into dark waves.
I tossed my goblet after him,
thinking how lucky I was
to be unlucky in love.
Sara Backer is the author of two chapbooks: Bicycle Lotus, which won the Turtle Island Poetry Award (Left Fork), and Scavenger Hunt (dancing girl press). She is on the brink of receiving an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and her article about the poet Ryszard Krynicki will appear in The Writer’s Chronicle in 2019.