If Love is For the Fishes

i breathe them in each night
a shallow breath of scaly skin
i breathe deep & think
of the shrimp’s crooked smile
i breathe deeper & am thankful
for the lobster’s claw
i know this is a type of love
and dream for their flesh to never know harm nor hurt
to never know run and hide

i know this is a type of love
because my cheeks grow warm
               my hands fling at the stars
               i dance a dance all my own
               there is music in my chest

i know this is a kind of love
because i think of my family
how they smile & i smile too
i always think of love & soft feather beds
because the water is perfect for me & when i close
my eyes i only see a garden growing upwards
towards the sun that is really a smile
& the water washes away the dust
of my night screams
love is an open door
a boat swimming against a purple glory
& syrup spun sugar
& i breathe & breathe & breathe
love ’til we become

Reprinted from Chrome Valley: Poems. Copyright (c) 2023 by Mahogany Browne. Used with permission of the publisher, Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of  W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.