Kirby Wright

We found a pink mountain. The mineral glittered in her hand. "What is it?" she asked. "Bauxite," I replied. Certain spots were soft, unstable, sucking like quicksand. We hiked until we reached a waterfall. We walked over water, stepping on stone islands. Statues surrounded us. One was half-fish and half-man: a man's head on a neck of gills. The legs were fins but the arms human. Fishman. She leaned against a statue of Jesus and cooled in the breeze from the falling water. "Careful," I warned. She smiled and said, "Paranoid." Something moved and I turned. Fishman wiggled. "He's alive!" I said. He wiggled free of his pedestal and swam through the air to reach her. She bent down to stroke him. Fishman wagged his tail. She straddled his back. "No!" I called. She grabbed his dorsal fin and Fishman dove down into the bauxite. She was gone. The waterfall stopped and the statues melted. The mountain flattened into a desert. The sky went violet. I found a mirror on a rock and brushed off the bauxite. I looked in—she was lying naked on our bed, holding a stack of snapshots. Fishman swam over and opened his mouth. His gills flared as he swallowed our lives, one memory at a time.

Kirby Wright is a past recipient of the Ann Fields Poetry Prize, the Academy of American Poets Award, and the Browning Society Award for Dramatic Monologue. His first novel is making the rounds in New York.

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