I try to read the sun’s 

bright cursive. It dances 

on seawater above me.

Time feels like a shell

I’ve outgrown.

The scales of a dead trout 

peeled back by a child

drawn from the fertile lines

of a wave. I was a fish 

before I was a boy, 

and I was a boy 

before I realized the ocean 

wasn’t my mother. 

When I closed my eyes, 

I asked to see the light 

inside me. How to reach it 

with arms of skin and bone. 

But I was pulled deeper, 

into water so dark,

I disappeared.

Russell Karrick is a poet and translator who lives in Colombia. He won the 2023 Slapering Hol Press Chapbook Award. He is also a recipient of World Literature Today’s Student Translation Award and Lunch Ticket’s Gabo Prize for Literature in Translation & Multilingual Texts. His poetry has appeared in Redivider, The Offing, Bat City Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and Magma Poetry, among others. Russell Karrick earned his MFA in creative writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University.