The Great Excavation

Beneath red fire
sweat sky she
burrows down
in clay desert.
Pisces on her treasure hunt.

Twin buried,
and reflection

Her therapy
is archeology.

The sea long deserted.
Fossils scattered deep
beneath locked

Fish bones thin,
fragile, but sharp
as needle point

prick her memory.
Reconstructing sad history,

she sees it as scientific,
cleansing ivory, organizing,

placing white thorned
puzzle pieces, discovering
structural integrity is
secret ingredient.

And when the skeleton is complete
she will slip her scaled skin
around it. Perfect fit.
Perfect fish

with ancient instincts
to lead her back
into the sea.

Ann Kestner is the founder and editor of the online literary journal Poetry Breakfast. For over 25 years her poems have appeared in various journals. Her poem “Jukebox Girl” was the introduction poem to the inaugural issue of Memoir Mixtapes. During 2017, she was the poet in residence and director at the Poetry and Arts Barn in Cream Ridge, NJ, where she hosted a variety of writing groups and poetry readings. In 2018, she produced a series of free eBooks through Poetry House Studios, featuring themed collections of her poetry. You can find more of her work and a list of upcoming readings at

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