by Elizabeth Gibson
Everyone seems to want zodiac tattoos,
and hey, maybe I could be brave, too,
and sketch a pattern of stars onto my leg,
Pisces in careful dots upon baby blue.
Or, the fish could be fleshy creatures,
fat and off-silver, leaping cold rivers,
proud to have cut free, live untethered.
But it could also be umbilical, that cord
joining the fish at their protesting tails,
both new and old blood feeding them,
painting pink each scale and whispering:
you know, you could always swim home.
It seems as far and as ancient as Pisces,
but it is less than an hour on the train.
Feel the needle like salt, ink like water,
imagine you are cracking through an egg,
ready to reaccept yourself as multiple.
Fish of home-warmth and city-hunger,
soft cat, disco flat, book babe, guitar gay.
Tails looped not in twine but in stardust,
a path they choose, back to one another.
Elizabeth Gibson is a poet, performer and tutor in Manchester, UK. Her writing is inspired by city life, self-love, the queer community, mental health, body image, and the environment. In 2020, she was chosen to represent Manchester City of Literature in the Tartu Bus Poetry Project, with her poem “Arrival”, about migration and belonging, translated and shared on bus windows in Tartu, Estonia. In 2021, Elizabeth was awarded a significant DYCP grant from Arts Council England, to allow her to focus on further exploring and owning her queerness through poetry. She edits Foxglove Journal, and tweets and Instagrams as @Grizonne.