Bluegill · Kendall Lake


by Olivia Farina

I do not know how to swim but
that comes so naturally to you.
You move in ways I can only dream about
because you were built to dance in the water.
Even when you are frightened,
far away from your hidden water fortress,
you flit away from whoever seeks to harm you,
curved into a C,
dancing away.
I caught you once and
threw you back and
that is when I learned of your dance.
I couldn’t stand to see myself hold
something so cosmically full of life.

You run like a machine:
Every muscle underneath scales and gills
is a work of art that keeps you alive.
Though your body is structured for movement and navigation,
you are still stuck.
When I see you in my dreams you are free and wild,
but in an instant you are taking oil into your terminal mouth,
drowning on sewage,
held trapped in plastic.
I try to remember you dancing
and not hooked at the end of a line.

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Traveling Stanzas community arts projects bring poetry to people’s everyday lives through innovative methods and digital platforms.