Life Through Glass

By Jonathan Duckworth

For Kat Flinn

Featured art: Giuseppe Barberi (1746-1809)

blurs become faces & eyes for me
as I see through layers of glass
& now that my fiancée is half
a continent away we speak through
a tunnel of light bound by twin
screens, more layers
& there are boats with bottoms
that let you see the underwater

in perfect safety & I wonder if the fish
in my fiancée’s tanks see us that way
huge ugly misshapen things safely
on the wrong side of the pane
lyretail mollies harlequin rasboras
bettas of swish & swirl green blue red
how they circle & gape & watch us
watch them & maybe sometimes
they wonder if we are happy & maybe
they see her on her couch as she
cradles my glowing face & they think
that’s how the finless frolic
& navigate this the sometimes
joy of being


Jonathan Duckworth received his MFA from Florida International University. His fiction, poetry, and nonfiction appears in Gulf Coast, Bayou, Barrelhouse, Tupelo Quarterly, Superstition Review, and elsewhere, and his chapbook Book of Never was published by Finishing Line Press. Duckworth has been nomi- nated for Best New Poets, Best of the Net, and Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy. He is a Ph.D. student at University of North Texas.

Originally published in NOR 28

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