Fish Out of Water

By Katherine Colglazier (‘23)

i am a fish out of water,
except, i never learned how to swim.

i get by pretending to know
the different strokes
in the sea of society.
i only float on the waves
of my imagination;
oblivious to the riptide
i pride myself in finding
a shore in the unsure.
i have learned how to climb trees
by crafting legs
out of seaweed
i have learned how to mask
my fish eyes with the hues of sea glass.

i soak in the sea
with the salt
and feel the sting of
the wounds on my gills
from cuts of men
trying to catch me.

no one sees me as a fish
no one knows i would sink
if they cast me out
to the lakes
where i am supposed
to come from.

i have learned how to breathe
without gasping
for my gills,
i have learned how to
hide my scales;
conform to the norms
of land so humans
don’t see
what is beyond
a fish out of water.

i dip my toes
in the sand and wonder
if there are more fish
that live among the
islands then the coral.
i sometimes wonder if
i am lonelier among the surface
then if i felt the pressure of
sinking deeper into ocean’s darkness.
i wonder if i dived
into the darkness, if i would
remember how to become a fish,
or if oxygen would fill my lungs
from holding in my self-hatred
for so long i wouldn’t know how to

my body has become flesh,
my tale has become legs.
i am no longer a fish out of water,
but a human drowning on
dry land.

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