Poetry Archive

They Are Swimmers

They are swimmers
having left the sea within me
for the one outside
where I cannot control
who they meet or temperature
or tides, moving beyond my distances
fleeing this sliver of land
farming oyster, kelp and salmon
singing songs I cannot hear, closing water
from their membraned ears
diving deep with wide membraned hands
and feet and larger lungs to meet the deep
my little fishies I would coo and then tadpoles
as they grew, ever more me ever something else
to dream the world where wet supplanted dry
is to see them change and challenge and survive 

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Filed under: Poetry Archive


Akua Lezli Hope is a creator and wisdom seeker who uses sound, words, fiber, glass, metal, and wire to create poems, patterns, stories, music, sculpture, adornments, and peace. She wrote her first speculative poems in the sixth grade and she’s been in print every year, except one, since 1974. She is published in numerous literary magazines and national anthologies. A third generation New Yorker, her honors include the NEA, two NYFAs, an SFPA award, Rhysling and Pushcart Prize nominations, among others. She has twice won Rattle’s Poets Respond. Her first collection, EMBOUCHURE, Poems on Jazz and Other Musics, won the Writer’s Digest book award. A Cave Canem fellow, her collection, THEM GONE, was published 2018 (The Word Works). She’s launched Speculative Sundays, an online poetry reading series. She won a 2021 individual artist grant for her art project, Now Voyager about the immigration of her grandparents from the West Indies to New York. She’s an avid hand papermaker and crochet designer with over 130 patterns published. She exhibits her artwork regularly. A paraplegic, she founded a paratransit nonprofit. Her chapbook, Otherwheres (ArtFarm Press 2020) is available on Amazon. She sings songs from her favorite anime in Japanese, practices her soprano saxophone and prays for the cessation of suffering for all sentience.

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