Some Kind of Gift


Sweetest, listen to my sorrow and how it came
from a fish I swallowed when I was small.
I was so tiny I used my shoe as a boat
and rowed with a plastic spoon.
The river tumbled me to an ocean
where I learned Medusa as the word for jellyfish.
When I was most afraid, Frida Kahlo
appeared as a mermaid and reminded me
to be large, to contain multitudes. She gave me
homework and desire, told me every jolt of surf
dislodged a vestigial ache. When it came time
for the fish to depart, I held it on my tongue.
Father, it called me; Mother, I breathe you,
as gulping, gasping, it splashed into the sky.

Jennifer Bullis is author of the chapbook Impossible Lessons (MoonPath Press, 2013). Her poems appear in such journals as Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Cider Press Review, Tahoma Literary Review, and the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion. Originally from Reno, Nevada, she holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of California Davis. She lives in Bellingham, Washington, where she taught college writing and literature for 14 years.