by Amy Nawrocki, from the collection "Mouthbrooders"
With no mind for words, no voice
to echolocate underwater, no sinkhole
to burrow or free unforgivable limbs
from pen caps whose plastic scratches
leave no trace of helpful blood,
I take on the company of cichlids and catfish,
mouthbrooders who clutch their young
in hopeful jaws, and search for a more
buoyant form of the art of persuasion.
Send me one of those fry harvesters
who coax the unspoken out from
worried tongues without harm,
without sugar pills or counterarguments. .
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