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2 Poems || Sara Biggs Chaney

Unfortunate Fish
Discovered in February in the seas surrounding the Desventuradas Islands (the ‘unfortunate’ islands in Spanish) off the coast of Chile, experts say this fish could be a new species…. The National Geographic Society is holding a contest from July 31 to August 26 to give this mystery fish a common name.
                –Jane Lee, “Help Name This Mystery Fish.”
                    National Geographic, July 30, 2013[1]
Split papaya,
monk eye in basalt,
top heavy with grasses—
Come out.
Wash me in possible.
The lights of my submersible are keening.
My adamic sirens on overdrive.
Even the coral is terrified.
Nomen fugitivus,
you fool nobody.
your un-name is showing.
You’ve arrived, opal fire fish.
Shake that pensive limetail,
you Galapagos dream.
Prepare to be words,
and in words, to be
creation myth,
etched in pixilated scales.
On Ray Grathwohl’s Painting, “The Eviction” [2]
The painting might be Rockwell’s
after a hard winter.
After he moved to Akron,
went to work at the rubber factory,
changed his name to Ray.
After Ray, from the window,
saw the world bone soaked,
shaking for warmth.
The atrocity of grandpa’s bedframe
spilling lost coins over the black ice.
Was his heart hurt, Ray’s,
and if it was, why did he leave us
crooked puppies like piñata candy,
children, arms curving in puzzled arcs
as if caught waiting for a punch line?
Even a clown boy, hind-leg walking,
what a trick, the way his roller toy
passes trackless over the fresh snow.
As if to say, maybe we weren’t here,
after all, and maybe we need not ask
will some streets always be so?
Their losses unfolding on sidewalks,
open arms speaking please lord
I surrender, children
forever bearing more
than their stature allows?
[1] Names in the fourth stanza of the poem are drawn from the article’s comment thread.
[2]This poem is inspired by Ray Grathwohl’s painting, “The Eviction,” created in Akron, Ohio in 1946. http://akronartcollection.org/Obj4013?sid=35&x=5910
Sara Biggs Chaney‘s first chapbook, Precipice Fruit, was released in October, 2013. Her second chapbook, Ann Coulter’s Letter to the Young Poets, is forthcoming from dancing girl press in 2014. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in A Clean, Well-Lighted Place, Whiskeypaper, Menacing Hedge, the Adroit Journal, Storm Cellar and other places. You can catch up with Sara at sarabiggschaney.blogspot.com