ICHTHYS

 

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That we were here first has been universally recognised

except by some monsters on terra firma who behave as if

they own this world; they make fun of us, call us names,

represent us riding bicycles or shove us up their smelly spouts

and nostrils, not the sort of places we normally like to visit.

Not that we lack a sense of humour; but enough is enough.

 

It was mainly the fault of that god-man who used us for his

miracles. Since then we have been a symbol of him.

Some species are backward in their understanding.

Why he could not settle for fruits or some other plant

is beyond us. We like to help, we are generous;

we feed all manner of creatures with our flesh

but prefer not to call it a miracle or holy communion.

We never imagined it would become a global phenomenon.

 

We would like to wipe out hunger in Africa, keep the world

healthy with our contribution to research in medicine

but we do not like wars that are fought on our territory

by those who have nothing in common with us. Our homes

are uninhabitable; we are left to survive anyway we can,

our gills stuck with oil, unable to breathe. Luckily, we know

how to multiply but humans have yet to learn how to divide.

 

We do not like to be a commodity subject to demand and supply,

even the most imaginative ones refer to us as sex symbols.

We have entered a language that constricts our purpose and meaning

appearing without copyright on seals, rings, urns and tombstones.

 

 

By Shanta Acharya, Looking In, Looking Out (Headland Publications, UK; 2005)

Please visit www.shantaacharya.com for more information about her work.

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