Alisha Bruton

from HOW NOT TO CLEAN A FISH

I am not a hurting god,
I am not cruel
Toolless, I threw the fish
  back in the lake

Queenright and settled
  with it now
Confucious said the body
  is sacred, you shouldn't open it


In the heat of battle you said
  arsenic selenium
If I had seven tongues,
  the faithful coast

If I had designed the throat
I'd cross the water to find you

There is a night inside a cedar inside a
  lamentation inside a swan
I broke all my birds on you,
  feather–hands

Which way out is the sun–dog?
Which one of us is the swan?
You are what the salmon spawn to,
  winging

Instructions for skinning: hair
  dulls a knife; cut from the inside out
Those aren't jewels

You only get one
  sister, treasure
I threw the fish back in the lake


from HOW NOT TO CLEAN A FISH

Do you even lighthouse?
You are all of the flowers today
Too long sharpening, but how to soften?
I have no further questions at this time

What makes you think I enjoy
  building an ark in this summer haze
It's like I'm auditioning for a water ballet

I got a letter from a snake:
  eat, eat, eat the fruit
Jury's still out

We are the swan children
   and we look after our own

I live in a tiny boat with only room
  for half my needs

The face of God a sailor's temple
Buying the sky back
 pound by blue pound
I am a woman standing outside a house
  wearing a fire and waiting on the flood


Alisha Bruton is a three-ring circus where a brown bear named Wanderlust and a brown bear named Well-Tended Garden chase each other on tiny bikes, forever.