Fishbone Diagram
by Cathy McArthur

Halfway through the week,
someone pointed to a skeleton of a fish,
drawing lines and wondering
what was the root of the problem;

a fish bone in my chest, a silver lure with a black cord
was caught in my throat.

I was really human at one time. I wasn’t a fish
but wanted to go with others in suit, upstream,
and swam with the fear of losing myself
in a sudden turn, a wave.

My brother home from the hospital;
his thin hand held a lit cigarette.
He cursed his food, the weather.
I was tired of running errands,

of not answering him,
Christianity settling in that house, around me
branches and tributaries with instructions.

An x-ray showed me
recovering alone; shiny scales redistributed
or tossed, a spinal column: arms, legs and a mouth
working, moving away.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 3.

placesaver2Cathy McArthur’s (aka Cathy Palermo’s) poetry is forthcoming in Juked and has recently in Blueline, Two Hawks Quarterly, and Barrow Street. She lives in Queens, New York with her husband, and teaches creative writing and composition at The City College of New York.

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