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In My Bones
Diane Lockward

    my nose,
  into my throat,
 a salmon swims
 in my bones.
 She navigates
 the damaged
  ecosystem of my
   body, slips inside
    porous bones.
     Like an engineer
     fixing a faulty dam,
      she lays her eggs
       in the holes, the
        hollow redds.
        All night I feel her
        undulations, the
        arching and
       reaching of back
      and belly. I move
     with the flapping
    of her tail. Her
   voice bubbles up
  to the surface.
 My ears swoosh
with water and
syllables. I hear her
calling her unborn
as once I called
my own. Pink with
 the oily ooze of
  salmon, her feathery
   flesh, and wild with
    desire for fresh water, 

     I swim upstream,
      against the current,
       through rapids
        and estuaries,
         as after long
          I push for

From The Uneaten Carrots of Atonement (Wind Publications, 2016).
Used here with permission.

Diane Lockward is the editor of The Strategic Poet: Honing the Craft and three earlier craft books: She is also the author of four poetry books, the most recent being The Uneaten Carrots of Atonement (Wind Publications, 2016). Diane, who lives in New Jersey, is the founder and publisher of Terrapin Books. Her awards include the Quentin R. Howard Poetry Prize, a poetry fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and a Woman of Achievement Award. Her poems have been included in such journals as the Harvard Review, Southern Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner.


Post New Comment:
Wilda Morris:
Posted 10/29/2021 11:10 AM
Sharon Waller Knutson:
I am obsessed with this beautiful brilliant shape poem that flows as smoothly as the salmon swimming through the speaker's body. I love the metaphor of the salmon healing her bones. Wish I'd written it.
Posted 10/27/2021 09:09 AM
Lori Levy:
Love the idea of a salmon swimming through your bones.
Posted 10/26/2021 10:25 AM
This is a gem of a poem. Thank you for sharing :)
Posted 10/26/2021 08:41 AM
michael escoubas:
WOW! Superbly creative with particular sensitivity to the ruminations of the human spirit. This poem is "swimmingly" wise!!
Posted 10/26/2021 08:26 AM
Larry Schug:
To me, this is a poem of being in touch with oneself. There are are, no doubt, other interpretations equally as valid. I enjoy poems that take me on a journey, some where outside myself as does "In My Bones"
Posted 10/26/2021 07:07 AM

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