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a fishing story. by Mia S. Willis

in this one, i am a sheepshead; a freak of nature and hard to hold onto. in this one, you cut open my stomach. gasp when you find blood instead of sand. according to the legend, i carry the ground in me, so it makes sense that i want to go back. in this one, my skin is just a shawl of scales. just a raincoat. just something to keep the salts separate. in this one, you push your fingertips past my teeth. i bite down. my empathy atrophies. you curse the day you caught me. in this one, we are not careful what we fish for. the sea is not a wetter sky. in this one, i am the deadliest catch.


MIA S. WILLIS is a Black performance poet from Charlotte, North Carolina. Their work, twice nominated for The Pushcart Prize, has been featured by Palette Poetry, The Offing, the minnesota review, homology lit, Narrative Northeast, Slamfind, and others. In 2019, Mia was named a Lambda Literary Fellow in Poetry, the Young Artist Fellow at Chashama’s ChaNorth residency, a collaborator in Forward Together’s Transgender Day of Resilience Art Project, and a performing artist on RADAR Productions’ Sister Spit 2020 Tour. A two-time Best of the Net nominee, Mia is also the author of monster house. (Jai-Alai Books), the 2018 winner of the Cave Canem Foundation’s Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize. Their debut full-length poetry collection is forthcoming.

@poetinthehat on Twitter and Instagram


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