Rachel Egly

p o e t r y


between his ribs

and his waist


that place

taken from


a lake’s surface

in summer or


liquor made soft

by long, slow sips


I want to consume you

when the sun returns


and we can wear less clothing​


I like to watch you sleep laid out, long

inches of scales competing for the sun.

You are calm but still shadow eyes haunt,

turn me cyprinid – please– push us into the

shallows to spawn among the rocks.


I do not know brain, only heart

when my fins near yours.

Do beautiful fish know they’re beautiful?

If I am a not a god then you are the anti-all

but still fluid, and still mine.


Glistening as we come out of the water

firing on three cylinders, leaking gasoline

and fertilizer runoff from the farm up the road

upstream, flowing, swimming.

We have known pollution’s touch.


We are trapped by the fisherman and by us;

for us, water is ground and sky is still sky.

Ribbons of water and sinuous fins

interlace around soft bellies. Always

a means to a means.


There is a smell echoing among the rocks–  

rocks clacking like spoons against teeth.

Our brethren are dead up on the shore,

full of black and air and insects

eating only for hunger’s sake.

Fluid Tongue

At five my favorite place

was standing in the lake, looking up

at cliffs with their rocks resting like books

on a shelf. If I had pulled one

down and ran careful fingers

across its spine, it might have

left itself open for me to freely read.


The blue-gray of my favorite skirt

matches the color of a western

river when it rains.

I know this well. You

stand at the top of the stairs, all

right angles to me

and say: you look beautiful.


I say your fluid tongue could

recite recipes and still make them

sound like running water. You say: bring water

to a boil. Add macaroni and stir

until tender. Drain. Add

butter, milk, cheese. Mix gently but well.

Eat ravenously but well.

I laugh, knowing

exactly what you mean.


For two summers I catch

crayfish below basalt canyons and

show them to curious onlookers.

Thigh-high in the water, I say: see

these legs? They are used to swim.

Those ones are used to

reproduce. Those are for feeding.

And the claws, of course, are used to


Rachel Egly is a bi poet, engineer, and ecologist in love with all things water. Her work has previously appeared in Vagabond City, The Rising Phoenix Review, Ghost City Review, and The Fruit Tree, and is forthcoming in Bone & Ink. She currently lives in Chicago with her partner and cat, where she catches crayfish, naps as much as possible, and spends most of her money on good food. You can find her @SPF_6 on Twitter or at rachelegly.wordpress.com.  

© 2018 by Azia Archer

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