SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

At the Nimbus Fish Hatchery, Sacramento

Nimbus: droplets in air, cloud-thought word

that rainbows at the right angle, as along the

 

             stair-step artificial river where the rainbow

             trout start small, just gently making their way

 

upstream—but if we proceed to the first little

waterfall place, we see the bigger ones making

 

             the leap, some failing and one caught mid-

             evolution for a moment, gripping with one fin-

 

arm the tiny fence, falling back—but they keep

flinging forward their slick slight bodies, as if trying

 

             to demonstrate a principle, as if God made them

             to show us what effort is. A real river is rushing,

 

after recent rains, beside us, but the rainbows

don’t even know or care, or do they? But at the top

 

             of the fake stream, the wall is higher, so

             the biggest fish leap up again and again but cannot

 

cross over—but the breathless curl of their

fan tails, but the wild and doomed enterprise of them—

 

             but we lean forward, watching, as if our bodies

             might lift theirs into the air, but a little higher—

 


Chloe Martinez lives with her husband and two daughters in Claremont, CA, where she teaches on the religions of South Asia at Claremont McKenna College. A graduate of Boston University’s Creative Writing MA and the MFA for Writers at Warren Wilson College, her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Waxwing, The Normal School, The Cortland Review, The Collagist, Crab Orchard Review and elsewhere, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is at work on a scholarly monograph and seeking a publisher for her first poetry collection.

When the Spine Fails to Offer Support

Imaginary Elegy