about the author

Effy Fritz is a poet and scientist from Brooklyn who believes the most important aspect of poetry is the act of deliberate word-choice. Effy likes nature in relatively small doses, eats a lot of peanut butter, and has been featured on MTV and Button Poetry, among other places. She holds a BsC in Neuroscience and is currently immersed in immunological research at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Fortune Fish 

Effy Fritz

The red cellophane sat in her palm,
“It’s a fortune fish,” he said.
“It’ll move soon enough.”
         She remembered the Brahmaputra river in Bangladesh, the bubbling
         algae a rotting green,
         how the fish bellied-up ivory and gasping, half-blooded.
         At first, she pushed them under with driftwood.
         But they rose like lit lanterns.
         By the third day she was desperate.
         The living crooned Bengali devotionals, splashed liquor onto the cool
         dirt to honor the dead moon.
         She alone struggled through the stinking water,
         collecting the floating and once-blue bodies beneath hers and forcing
         them under.
         This was supposed to be their home. Never mind the rain thick with
         But the river was a wound. And the wound was crowded with the
         And the god of death beat his hooves on the edges of the riverbank
         until the erosion clouded around her feet, those crumpled rocks.
“Cellophane is hygroscopic,” he said.
“It finds the water in your hand and moves accordingly. If it flops to the right you’re about to fall in love. If its tail curls up it means you’re dying.”
But the fortune fish just laid there.
“What does it mean if it doesn’t move at all?”
“It means you’re already dead.”

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