Poem of the Month

I make myself a skirt of fish skin by Iris Anne Lewis

Mother stitches mackerel eyes

as sequins on my bodice. They wink

dark gold in the sun.

My sisters leave their baskets

brimming full of gutted herring.

They braid my hair with seaweed.

Grandmother binds my thighs together,

strokes my silver scales. Her hands

are rough with barnacles.

Trawler men sing shanties of storm-

tossed ships and foundered boats.

There is salt in their voices.

Women lead me to the water’s edge,

show me how to dance to the surge

and suck of the waves.

They break in a bridal froth

of foam. Spindrift settles

as confetti on my shoulders.

I flip my tail,

rip through the tide,

dive deep in the ocean.

Claim the sea as my own.

Iris Anne Lewis

This poem was first published in Seaborne Magazine, Issue 3