March 2017

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The Fisherman’s Wife

By Andrew Leggett

(for Talib Odeh)


Stolen from the sea,

her torso sways to the right,

then snakes to the left again.


A woman without arms

moves to the oud,

to the beat of the tabla.


She is woman below,

but above the waist,

she is all fish.


Up and down her spine,

from the tip of her tail

to the jewel in her crown,

moves a tube of light.


She snatches at air

like a bellows hungry

for the ocean to blow

in and out of her gills.


Her belly rises

below the line

where scales meet skin,


all the way down

to that silken place

where he will taste fish.


When she grows fins

she will swim far away from him

and be free in the ocean again.