First off, they’re pink, not red.
And that big one looks
more like a fish head than a rock:
narrowed vertical eye,
hostile purplish lips. Behind
the triangular gill, three bleeding
wounds like remnants
of battle, at its crown a black
crescent vent to let out steam.
I can’t look at the shoreline
without that fish in the foreground
taking over my field of vision
like a tanker ran aground,
leaking its bilious oil. And last night
while watching a show about
tsunamis, I saw it for an instant,
superimposed on a wave. Surely
Munch didn’t mean to stick me
with this tormented creature.
After all, this place was where
he once said he felt happiest, as if
he was walking among his paintings.
I imagine him there, his easel
set up on the hill, a breeze
blowing up from the fjord,
ruffling his hair.
I want the rock back.
This may sound crazy, but I feel like
Munch hid that fish for me to find.
Finders keepers, he says.
Even the sky is tainted,
though he painted it
the most sublime of blues.
Eileen Pettycrew’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in New Ohio Review, CALYX Journal, Cave Wall, SWWIM Every Day, and elsewhere. In 2022 she was a runner-up for the Prime Number Magazine Award for Poetry and a finalist for the New Letters Award for Poetry. Her work has also been recognized with a Pushcart Prize nomination. Eileen lives in Portland, Oregon.
The Ekphrastic Review
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