Cathexis Northwest Press

© 2018 

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Calico Koi
00:00 / 01:14

boy koi

My scales are coarse,

my fins bristly,

my touch indelicate,

but you love me for all that.


You wrap me in your smooth, amber fins

to forget what pampers you,

to loosen the soft shell that cradles you,

to be with me and stroke my rough, orange scales.

girl koi

Your orange and my yellow

are more than colors on a palette—

they’re the end of day before a thunderstorm,

they’re fires in John’s Apocalypse.


Come swim alongside

and rasp me with your lateral fins

to free me from this swirling eddy

away from the sameness of my days.

joyed koi

Night falls, and we enrapture fin to fin.

I below. You above.


never heeding the flames of Revelation—


a burning blast breaks through black

and shifts light to terracotta

morphing into an afterglow 

of peaceful calico.

Paul Iasevoli's stories and poems have been published in various journals, including, High Shelf Press, Cleaning Up Glitter, and Deep South Magazine, where he was 2018 winner of honorable mention in their Race in Place short story contest. His writing has also appeared in the Florida Writers Association’s yearly collection of prose and poetry. He’s author of the 2018 award nominated LGBTQ+ novella, Winter Blossoms.

"Calico Koi is part of a surrealistic fabulist collection of poetry and prose in which various aquatic creatures represent different sexual modalities. A visit to the meditation koi pond at the Selby Gardens in Sarasota, Florida inspired this particular poem."