i could’ve bred fish-swarms in my shoes

a sliver of a dream caught
delicate in yellow autumn shine
a mountain
that would eat its kids& not.
because it’s hungry
just //
the wind—
is more// like swallowing
a pink balloon
a heavy storm and lightning
air that tastes of first snow

a russian girl&german boy.
neither speaking the other’s language
talking stars. astronomy. a dictionary
spread open on their lap
&this is
where my need for lists ends

“see” she says “we talked all night,
he was a friend&if we fell in love, i feared
i’d lose him”
heavy mountain wind hitting our cheeks
a sky that looks like in a big adventure game
at one point/we all carry stories

(i had a  cogwheel stanza here but—)

platform three in pouring rain
and fogged up train panes
twenty phone calls in two miles
it’s bitter cold
rain hits a
blinking cab sign

all the undreamt stories that i am sneak//careful//like a cat
brushing my legs with furry tail
then disappear//purring
———-’round the corner


over at dVerse, Tony has us write list poetry…. doors open at 3pm EST… i’m back from a business trip and catching up now… smiles


39 responses to “i could’ve bred fish-swarms in my shoes

  1. I adore how you move in & out of the narrative of the poem, yet completely invest us in the imagery & flow of it. Liked the line /a sky that looks like a big adventure game/. Terrific energy & emotion in this, barely noticed the listing; big smile.

  2. hahaha…love the parenthesis…now who is taking pot shots? smiles.
    cool story in the boy and the girl…a bit sad…i dont know, i think friends could be more
    with that foundation of friendship, but i understand her fear…
    the directness of at one point we all carry stories is cool as well…
    and we are all them…

  3. I guess it is common to feel that fear or losing what they already have but in some situations the risk might be worth taking. Today I can definitely relate to the experience at the platform under the rain… smiles..

  4. I really liked the penultimate stanza, Claudia. The rest is good, but for me there’s something extra in the description of your journey home from your business trip. Nice to be reading you again.

  5. Your ‘russian girl&german boy’ remind me of conversations I had with a German boy in Austria when I was nine and neither of us could speak the other one’s language. Twenty phone calls in two miles sound horrific. I hope you have a relaxing weekend.

  6. Welcome back. I love this poem. It’s full of your perceptions of the weather, the trip home, the boy and girl and their unlove affair. I always love the imagery you use like the pink balloon. I really enjoyed this so much.

  7. The story, and how we enter it halfway through–with the same mountain and rising wind and possibilities! Love! So then why, like a cat, sidle away … ?

  8. OMG, what beautiful poem, C … The Russian girl and the German boy hit home … I know of a Gypsy girl and a Canadian boy … they did fall in love … and they have been losing and finding each other for over 30 years now … and the adventure goes on …(in sickness and in health, for rich or poor, till death do us part) … sigh … smiles … Love, c.

  9. I admire the story of the girl and boy, sharing what they love despite the language barriers ~ That must have been some hard rain and cold weather ~

  10. I like the stanza about two people communicating though not knowing the same language. Ha, it reminds me of little children sometime…they speak on and on to one another, perhaps not knowing what the other says, but that is not so important. They are enjoying being together.

  11. Ah, I am a sucker for those mixed language communications experiences and had a few of my own. Lovely poem, I enjoyed feeling my way through it.

  12. Incredible work, Claudia. I always love your poems, but this one has something “extra.”

    That title hooked me, big time.

    I love this:
    “delicate in yellow autumn shine
    a mountain
    that would eat its kids& not” … Especially the idea that a mountain would eat its kids, but also not. This makes me think of Abraham and Isaac, the almost-sacrifice, but the quick save and provision of the lamb at the end.

    Great line breaks, drawing out the meaning of the mountain representing “justice”; to me, the mountain is God:
    “because it’s hungry
    just //”

    Love this, too:
    “the wind—
    is more// like swallowing
    a pink balloon”

    “a russian girl&german boy.
    neither speaking the other’s language
    talking stars” … I like that they are (themselves) talking stars, and also, that they are talking about stars (perhaps even astrology, their future together, etc.).

    “&this is” … Young love makes all else cease to exist. I’m picturing the girl as being your daughter, but also you. I think there is a blurring of lines. I think this poem is so good because it’s deeply personal for you. Maybe you’re talking about another girl, but remembering your own young love.

    “if we fell in love, i feared” … This line break emphasizes the fear, and not just over losing him, but also all the fear that goes along with being in love. Of being hurt. Of being disappointed. Of suffering in any way.

    “heavy mountain wind hitting our cheeks” … You’re subtly going back to opening. So again, I think the mountain is God and the wind is His gentle voice (or maybe not so gentle).

    “at one point/we all carry stories” … This reinforces the theory that you’re thinking of your own previous dealings with this issue … whether or not to let yourself fall in love with a friend. Your next line is just an ampersand, followed by the parenthetical suggestion that you’ve forgotten or lost your “cogwheel stanza.” But really, you’re just leaving your own personal love story as an ampersand. “I’m not going to tell you my story; I’m just going to let you wonder.” But your “cogwheel” metaphor tells us all we need to know. You and this guy fit together perfectly, and when you did, your wheels made this happen … made the sun rise, hung the stars, and such. It was so deep and impacting that you can’t even write about it.

    Your last stanza is killer.

    • If your memories (or “undreamt stories … hmm, I wonder if you intentionally don’t allow yourself to dream about them because they are too powerful) … anyway, if your stories are a purring cat, and there are fish babies in your shoes, then I suppose those potent thoughts are nibbling at your toes. Quite a tickle, and maybe a bite or two.

  13. I like that part – a Russian girl and a German boy, understanding each other though they do not speak the same language. You described love so delicately and innocently. :-0

  14. I particularly love ‘all the undreamt stories that I am’ and the idea of them slinking off like a cat.

  15. a super interesting take on the prompt, Claudia–I’ve been on my own trajectory–not able to fit into the prompts–but glad to see the way you slide/sidle in with your own voice. k.