Rose Hunter

PUFFER

 

and when you say you scooped me up
do you mean in the manner of
a wide net? if so why did you decide

to keep me over the others? was it
my marlin party ruffle or lithe eel body,
my leopard fish pelt, am i a flower hat
jelly with trailing water dust,

am i a medusa? or was it my forage fish
humility, my sea tortoise salinity in oak-
paneled libraries, in drawing rooms
reef squid straightjacket rocket
lobster petal tail, or octopus flail
what did you see in me? (is it true

we can love almost anyone
given half a chance?)

given one eighth i’d be a
pufferfish, my spotted velvet
fine wide brow and elephant
ears cymbal-like for you
my bottle glass gaze my
snout mouth, open, slightly

(for real i am often so)

i am pufferfish to the world
a soursop with toxic
liver. look at my rudder
go. i’m evasive. highly
maneuverable, but slow.
i have
backup mechanisms.
i become pincushion
or little grenade you can throw.
i know you like this most
of all. i can change color
and pattern (if you knew
what i’d done if you
knew what i was, once, if
you knew what i’d done)
i have spots, stripes, elaborations

(you too respond to environmental
changes but i’d like to see you move
combining four types of fins)

haeckel has me as a peach
with barbs, a teddy bear porcupine,
a curious vacuum cleaner
attachment, a disco ball
cubist endorphin with epaulettes,
a prickly pear paddle. honey me

sugar toad, fly me to the balloon,
i will deaden your tongue and lips
dizziness and vomiting
numbness and body prickle
rapid heart rate, muscle paralysis,

with my four teeth i devastate
crustaceans and mollusks.
now i have my hand around your ear,

why do you love me?

 

 


ROSE HUNTER is the author of the book glass (Five Islands Press). From Australia, she lived in Toronto for ten years, and now spends a lot of time in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.


Issue Five
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