Liza Katz Duncan
I’ve learned the language of your parables.
Some days, I hear your voice
inside my own, all panic grass and cautionary tales.
Today’s like a painting: a flat sky,
rough clouds reflected in the bay.
Still, the water, ridged and solid, suggests
something’s off. Below the surface, hundreds
of glass minnows. The color when they
jump at once, shrill, an instant glint, shouldn’t
exist in nature. The rotted remains
of a dock, teeming with gulls and cormorants.
Preening, already drunk on fish, they know when
they’ve had their fill. I hear your
voice inside my own: your admonitions in the way
I use the same word, carelessly, to mean
two things. Fish: the creature, its displacement.
Drunk: both person and past action. I’ve become
a Frankenstein (there it is again): the word for both
the monster and its maker, cause and outcome.
Impossible to unmonster myself:
I ran slipshod
with beasts of the underbrush to beg and beckon.
Caught my laces, stumbled, fire-flushed
on the talons of brome grasses and bulrush.
Liza Katz Duncan is a poet and teacher in New Jersey. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, Poet Lore, The Shore, Vinyl, Phoebe, The Journal of New Jersey Poets and elsewhere. She is an MFA candidate at Warren Wilson College.