/shannan mann


A fish bellows into a pond she is
a man. Two men enter, pucker their lips
but don’t kiss. Water drinks rain.

Your sobs are windchimes in a rainforest.
I adore mirrors or anything that reflects.
I reflect on the sunfish balling its fins

into fists. The two men finally
kiss. The pond misses wetness
and motion, cancels reflections.

I find myself in the glass beads
on your wrist. Your fingers pinch
a fig. Love wells like a cyst,

a kernel of fruit. All objects transmute.
You eat all the soft spots, yeast, rind
juice, mould. I eat your frozen tears

like a fish.


I am myself unlike myself.
A flicker of a body.

A buna, monarch-orange, pregnant with beechnuts,
bends by a body of water, an episodic river.

Fall has begun its slow murder. Sun
arrives like a leopard speckled in blizzard clouds.

Do not look up, but, bark-on-bark, etch
the poem of echoes & sweet, soft lands.

Water is my mother today. Creamy foam,
frothing falls, flash of eels, distant oxbow.

Plunge into its toothless mouth. Span my arms.
Mid-air, I grow alulas & a pink bill flecking black.

Godwit, my body. I aviate into another season.
Pinnae of light. Lightness of life, pollen

carried by wind into the night
of a body eclipsed by another body.

Shannan Mann is an Indian-Canadian writer. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rattle, Rust + Moth, Wildness, Frontier, and Humber Literary Review. She was a finalist for the Frontier 2021 Award for New Poets and has been nominated for the 2022 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. Her play “Milkbath” was selected as the resident production of the Toronto Paprika Theatre Festival. You can find her at https://www.instagram.com/shannanmania.