Queen Conch — Amy Schmitz

I thought I was done
with fish

tired of the pull and scrape

but if I walk
through a fishery

with a man who is still my husband

just seven years older than when we married
and in need of a shower
I may fall all over again

because what of the queen conch

whose thousand eggs drift 28 days
before settling

whose hard lip
is finally a flare of maturity

whose shell thickens
as she ages?

A ripple in the ocean is patterned
and open

more than a body
more than a grave

like any other question—

how much until hunger feels like shame?


Amy Schmitz grew up in Buffalo, New York and Fairfax, Virginia, and now lives in San Diego California. Her first collection, Border Crossing, was published in April 2018 by the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Quiddity, High Plains Literary Review, Sugar House Review, Kestrel, Borderlands: Texas Literary Review, Louisiana Review, Askew, Poetry International and elsewhere, and she has won awards from Poetry International, the Women’s National Book Association and the Syracuse chapter of the National League of American Pen Women. She is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and holds an MFA from George Mason University.