The Parrot Fish

by writer

Dad rose from the surf, called me,
and kicked off his fins. It twitched
in shallow water, still impaled

on the spear. Green and blue scales
glistened beneath a headdress of sea foam
until its body paled. Dad nailed

it to the patio wall by his diving treasures–
abalone shells, a puffer fish
that became a hanging lamp, glass balls

in nets, and his old diving helmet.
Only the parrot fish faced the pool.
I often thought it cruel,
how it had to watch us swim.

Karen Kelay grew up near the Pacific and loves writing poetry about the sea. Her poetry has been published in Boston Literary Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, Lucid Rhythms, and Linnet’s Wings, to name a few. She is the author of Collected Poems by Karen Kelsay, which was published in June 2008, and a chapbook, A Fist of Roots, scheduled to be published next year by Puddinghouse Press. She lives with her husband in Torrance, just a short distance from the beach, where she still looks for writing subjects and inspirations.

Back to Issue One: Fall 2008