Self-Portrait as a Body, as a Sea

Donika Kelly

Fall 2017

I am a body schooling,
a ball of fish, flashing
and many, in these early days
of feeling, of love.

When I learned,
hours ago, of fish songs
that swell like birdsong
in the morning,

how they foghorn or buzz
for food, or mates
or space, I thought,
now aren’t I a humming thing?

Yes, you say,
a body of oceans
and marvelous.

And the sea anemone in me,
           growing on the wreckage
of an old ship—

           can they grow that way,
           I wonder, on an ending—

Donika Kelly is the author of Bestiary (Graywolf 2016), winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and longlisted for the National Book Award. She teaches at St. Bonaventure University.

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