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Poem in which a fish is not a fish ~ a new poem from Claire Dyer

Poem in which a fish is not a fish

In the water it is beautiful,
can swim against the tide,

and with it, be covert,
indiscernible, visible, leap

to twist; see its scales rainbowing,
its fin-flick, its dark, dark eyes.

Now see it in the shallows,
how its body shines with the sun on it.

See its power, length. Don’t
think about the stories of

it mating and spawning, the
incalculable distances it swims,

it in a net, and gasping. No,
remember it for itself, and its colours,

and you, leaning over the edge
of the boat, the bridge, quay,

riverbank, cupping your bare hands
around it, holding it steady for a while.

Claire Dyer

Claire Dyer teaches creative writing at Bracknell & Wokingham College, runs Fresh Eyes – an editorial and critiquing service – and curates Poets’ Café, Reading’s longest-running poetry platform on behalf of The Poetry Society’s Reading Stanza. Her poetry collections, Eleven Rooms (2013) and Interference Effects(2016) are published by Two Rivers Press, and she has another, Yield, forthcoming in February 2021. Quercus and The Dome Press have published her novels.

Her website is

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