ALISHA BRUTON

from HOW NOT TO CLEAN A FISH



This is a message from god:
Take the reins
                                               I always double back the way I ride in
                                               Footprints on hoofprints in fresh snow
The fire blew out the only fire there is
Wolves get closer and the snakes
  under my feet
                                               If my black self painted this black
                                               Dark enough I am to share it
Me myself and the want
Maybe I love the nausea too much
                                               My life is
                                               How not to clean a fish
The water is too deep
  right off the bank
  to step into
                                               Which one of us gets to be the swan this time?
                                                  You threw the fish back in the lake








from HOW NOT TO CLEAN A FISH




What do mysteries eat?
There is a dark hallelujah, finds you
Witch as it was
                                                There is a school of grief
                                                  I’m trying to find
                                                Where north, a direction the body
                                                  can know without visiting first
A temple upstream
  and a temple down
Decide at the crossroads based
  on a tombstone
                                                But I thought you held on
                                                But I thought you were the keeper of
                                                  all god’s secrets I wanted to touch
Snakefruit, an amen
What was between us, a thing
  I can grieve, like a body
                                                Trying to wade upstream, chest-high
                                                A current is god’s way of saying
                                                          stay where you are
In the dream I moved into
  that blue house I swim to
When the riptide catches me
  and holds
                                                He said you have to chose
                                                  between Polaris & the river
Whatever he is feeds me in the dark
We ate the orchids down to the stems








from HOW NOT TO CLEAN A FISH



Nemesis
There is a swan who can read
  and write
                                                What I learned in mystery school:
                                                How not to clean a fish
You should never put out a fire it’s
  disrespectful say
  a prayer or something
                                                But how do you clean a sieve?
                                                everything passes through
Where I kept
   spines from every fish I ever
   kilt with that knife
                                                I sturdy toward you, Saint
                                                Cloud & the comeback
                                                I learned to count and haven’t stopped since
I sturdy at you like nothing else
How do you clean a siege?
                                                Inside your frost regime
                                                Columbus was a sailor
                                                  not a diver, wasn’t he?
If you can’t do it with one
  swan
Don’t do it at all





Alisha Bruton is a three-ring circus where a brown bear named Wanderlust and a brown bear named Well-Tended Garden chase each other on tiny bikes, forever. 

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