The Eye of a Little God

For Sylvia

I am Plath’s terrible fish, darting between
the four points of her bathroom mirror.
I exist only when she is looking at me.
She plunges her hands into my silver pool
hypnotized with the glitter in my scales
and I slip between her fingers, wet
and slick as a sheet of glass.

This is our waltz, our
sacred morning ritual.

If you ask me what it means to be caged,
I’ll tell you the dimensions of the tank
in a poet’s gaze, how there is barely room to move,
barely room to flex your fins.
Pupils are no depths for swimming in,
but I can’t be blamed for trying.

I only exist when she is looking at me –
but she thinks she is looking into her own heart.
I haven’t the heart to tell her
that a mirror is no place for a fish,
no place for a piece of your soul.
I want to tell her to reel herself in
because I know too much to ever
bite onto her hook.

I know about pills and I know about ovens,
I know about mermaids and bell jars.
There will not be enough oxygen to go around,
not for your lungs, not for my gills,
we will part our lips and gasp for the same thing.

We will suffocate – she in her jar,
me on my back, flopping,
slapping the mirror with my body.
I will die alongside my creator.

I will shudder and still, she will curl
into herself like a crushed spider,
I on my side of the glass,
she on hers.


15 thoughts on “The Eye of a Little God

  1. Natalie,

    I have been ceaselessly dazzled by your writing for the last several years. And so once again, I encounter a poem that is humbling in its audacity and power. You were born to this, I think.

    Sending you thoughts of peace and strength.


    1. Tom,

      Your visits always bring such warmth to my heart. Thanks for saying such kind and thoughtful things, and for being so genuine.

      Sending good vibes your way,


Thoughts? I love those.

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