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Vol. 23, No. 3: Things

A List of Waters

by Tyree Daye

The scar that flows from my aunt’s thigh
to the boulder of her swollen ankle is a map
of the Haw River,
each toe a Blue Heron.

My mama’s water
               is all water, I’m every river rock
inside her being smoothed over.

The palms of my uncle’s hands
are the Deep River when he is holding a gutted trout.
Always something
is bleeding.

You saw her bloody
and did nothing,
you Yellow Perch.

My uncles sinned openly
on Sunday,
fed in the daytime,
            a White Catfish.

My smallest cousin is a salamander in their father’s
            Neuse River arms, legs hanging there
like Blackwater.

Every woman
who has ever told me to clean my face
is the Atlantic Ocean.

The shoreline of this beach
is also a history lesson,
these sea shells
have blood on them.

I dream mostly in floods.

Fresh or Fried: A Southern Cultures Seafood Reader

Twelve fish(ish) tales from the archives (with accompaniments). Read the whole platter here.

Bounty Everlasting: Poetry from 25 Years of Southern Cultures

This poem is featured in Bounty Everlasting. Read all 25 for free.

Tyree Daye is a poet from Youngsville, North Carolina. He is the author of two poetry collections River Hymns (2017 APR/Honickman First Book Prize winner) and Cardinal (forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press, 2020). Daye is a 2017 Ruth Lilly Finalist and Cave Canem fellow. His work has been published in Prairie SchoonerNew York Times, and Nashville Review. Daye won the 2019 Palm Beach Poetry Festival Langston Hughes Fellowship, 2019 Diana and Simon Raab Writer-In-Residence at UC Santa Barbara, and is a 2019 Kate Tufts Finalist. He also received the 2019 Whiting Writers Award.

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