Finalist: Grace Q. Song

Dead Fish Syndrome

They came at dawn—
blue fish, amber fish, silver fish.
After the tide slipped away, I walked
past overturned boats to where
the ocean buried them in acid seaweed.
The sea cannot carry all of its dead
forever. ​A body hurts to touch,
my sister tells me, so we never touched.
Our hands returned to salt & shipwrecked
light stole eyes, devoured bones, tore scale
after scale until the gulls must’ve mistaken them
for broken white shells. These days,
I leave the piano covered. I don’t know where
I’ve hidden myself in these minor keys.
I don’t know why this music box
& everything I want to hold     cut
into my skin like those crimson-
serrated gills. I am so in love, so lonely,
I could fill the ocean with this song.