Open Wide [15 Words or Less Poems]

Hello, and welcome! This is 15 Words or Less Poems, a low-pressure way to wake up your poetry brain (guidelines here), and I’m glad you’re here.

Here’s a picture I took in my “Fishing Room” on a school visit in southern Minnesota, which I blogged about earlier this week. The room was full of quaint North Shore cabin decor, which was all very homey. But this mounted fish by the bed was a little disconcerting!

fishing room Lanesboro
Photo: Laura P. Salas

This image makes me think of:

  1. Jaws (of course)
  2. my daughter Maddie’s tonsillectomy and how long it took her to come out of recovery!
  3. why we always dream of flying but never of swimming like fish and breathing underwater

And here’s my first draft. Don’t worry if you don’t understand it–I don’t, either! I was just thinking about how mysterious fish are–especially big fish, like sharks. And how they’re almost dreamlike–shadows under the sea. And, well, this is what came out!

interpreting a fish

It’s your turn! Have fun and stick to 15 WORDS OR LESS! (Title doesn’t count toward word count)

26 Responses

  1. Good morning to all. In my opinion, this art should be in the common area of the “lodge” and not over the bed. Having said that Laura, I really like your line “shape draped in waves.” Very soothing.

    3‑D Art

    I see your tonsils
    and your teeth
    should anyone need me
    I’m under the sheet.

    1. Your poem made me laugh. Very cute. And I agree, the scary fish does not belong by the bed!

    2. Hehe–love that! The image of someone pulling the covers up goes so well with that young voice. And to be fair, I had to work to get this angle. Mostly from the room and bed, you just see the side of the fish:>)

  2. Love your poem today, Laura, second and third lines especially. Your words inspired my poem, as I often dreamt of swimming when I was on a swim team.

    swimming in my
    dreams again
    winning races
    with gills -
    no need to slow
    to breathe

    1. I love how lines 1 through 4 flow right into each other with no pause. Perfect match for your content.

  3. I’m actually going to the eye doctor tomorrow. And my dentist is a lovely person, but those needles! (Shudder.)

    Going to the dentist,
    such a menace.
    I’m afraid
    I know the drill.

    —Kate Coombs

    1. Dittos Kate. Clever use of the “drill.” Pun intended I’m sure. Cute!

  4. Fish by my bed,

    fills me with dread-

    This “dream” catcher

    is a scream hatcher!

  5. Wow! What a picture! Can’t imagine why they would put that by the bed. It’s designed to bring nightmares.


    No fishing lure,
    that’s for sure.
    No bait, but you
    he wants to chew.

    1. Well, that’s not very reassuring, is it? Hehe. It was off to the side, so I confess I had to stand on a stool or chair or something to get this unsettling view :>)

  6. That fishy might make for some interesting, dreams! Love the line “shape draped in waves,” Laura.

    From the Mouth of Sharky the Salesman

    Free spears!
    Razor-sharp, home-grown,
    needle-pointed, finely-honed…

    Swim into my gaping yap..
    Closer, closer! Ready?


    1. Oooh, gaping yap! Love that. So many terrific, specific words in here. Love it!

  7. This is my first time trying this! I feel like my spiny poem came out a bit too literal, but oh, well!


    I’d like
    to think
    I would
    too if
    my dead
    was a

    1. Welcome, Elissa! First of all, we do not judge our poems on any kind of merit here. It’s just a low-pressure way to get SOMEthing on the screen. A first draft. Second, I like the two syllables per line, giving it a very measured, even kind of tone that fits the voice very well. And I agree!

  8. That is the CREEPIEST photo of a fish I have ever seen.

    Also: poor Maddie and her difficulty with drugs (sure makes good stories though!! ;))

    1. Yeah, I generally post cute or pretty or neutral pics, but I couldn’t resist the weird fish. Next week will be Captain Jack, I think! Yes on Maddie. Did you see the youtube video of a girl who has her wisdom teeth out, I think, and then her brothers convince her it’s a zombie apocalypse. Reminded me SO much of Maddie, except we’d never be mean like that ;>)

    1. Oooh, I like that comparison, since the mouth DOES look like a cave!

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,516 other subscribers

Are You Looking For?

Poetry Friday posts

Classroom Connections posts

All my poetryactions

Go to my Poetry page for:

  • National Poetry Month projects through the years
  • Small Reads Roundups (poems grouped by topic)
  • Introductions to several favorite poetry forms
#waterpoemproject15 Words or Less Poems20for2030 Painless Classroom Poems50 State Poemsacrosticsactivity pagesactivity sheetALAA Leaf Can Be...Amy Ludwig VanDerwaterA Need to FeedanthologiesanthologyA Rock Can projectsaudiopoemsawardsbad newsBarbara Juster EsbensenBilly Collinsbiopoemsblog tourbookalikesbook festivalsBookSpeak!book spine poemsbook trailersbop poembyr a thoddaidcafepresscalendar poemsCamp Read-a-LotCan Be... bookscan be... poemsCapstoneCarol Varsalonacascade poemsCatherine FlynnccbcCCRA.W.3CCRA.W.4CCRA.W.5centoschapter bookschoral compositionschristina rossetticinquainsCLAclassified ad poemsclassroom connectionclassroom connectionsClover Kittyconferences and conventionscrown sonnetscybilsdansaDare to DreamDavid Elliottdeeper wisdom poemdefinitosdiamantesdiversitydizaindodoitsuDot DayDouglas Floriandownloadablesdrum corpse.e. cummingsekphrastic poemsepistolary poemsequation poemsessentialethereeseventsexquisite corpseFairy Tale Garage Salefamilyfibonaccifiction picture booksfinding familyfirefightersforeign editionsfound poemsfree author zoomsfree versefrom studentsgeesegeorgia heardghazalGift Taggiveawaygolden shovelgoldilocksgratitudehaikuheart of aheart of a teacherHeidi MordhorstHelen FrostHighlightshow-to poemshow to make a rainbowI Am FromI Am poemsidiomsif you want to knit some mittensIf You Were the MoonILAimagepoemsinterviewin the middle of the nightIRAIrelandIrene LathamJ. Patrick LewisJanet WongJoyce SidmanKendraKerlanKidlit Comboslailaura's board booksLaura's booksLaura's poemsLaura's readingsLaura ShovanLee Bennett HopkinsLilian MoorelimericksLinda Booth SweeneyLine Leads the WayLion of the Skylist poemslittle free librarylive writingLullaby and Kisses Sweetlyricsmadness poetrymargaret simonMarilyn Singermary lee hahnmask poemsMeet My FamilyMelissa StewartMentors for Rentmentor textsmetaphorMichelle Myers LacknerMillbrookMinnesota Book Awardsmoneymoonmy reading lifemy writing processN+7naaninarrative poemsNational Poetry Month 2012 (haiku a day)National Poetry Month 2014 (riddle-ku)National Poetry Month 2015National Poetry Month 2016National Poetry Month 2017 (#wonderbreak)national poetry month 2018 (haiku a day)National Poetry Month 2020National Poetry Month 2021 (#EquationPoem)national poetry month 2022 (sticky-note poems)National Poetry Month 2023 (Digging for Poems)National Poetry Month 2024 (magnipoems)ncteNerdy Book Clubnifty newsnifty stuffNikki Grimesnonfictionnonfiction booksNonfiction Writers Dig Deepnovelsnovels in verseodesOne Minute Till BedtimeoppositifyOskar's VoyagepadletpantoumsparodiesPatreonpeacepersonalpet poemsphotopoetryphrase acrosticspicture booksplagiarismpoempicspoemspoems for two voicespoemsketchpoetic pursuitsPoetry 7poetryactionspoetry activitiesPoetry Blastpoetry booksPoetry FridayPoetry Friday AnthologiesPoetry Princessespoetry promptspoetry sistersPoetry Tips for Teachersprogressive poempublishing processpuddle songPutridquotationsraccontinosRandy Salasread-aloudreadaloudreading poetry in the classroomRebecca Kai Dotlichrecipe poemsrefugeesresearchreview copiesreviewsrevisionrhyming booksrhyming nonfictionrhyming picture booksRhyming Picture Books the Write Wayrhyming poemsRiddle-kuriddle poemsRock Can Be...Rock the Blogrondeau redoublesRudyard Kiplingsalas snippetsSCBWIschool visitsScotlandseasonssecrets of the loonSELsestinasshrinking daysskinnyskypeslice of lifesmall readssnack snooze skedaddlesnowman-coldsonnetsStampede!storm poemstorytimestorywalkstudent poemsstudent workSylvia VardellTanita Davistankatautogramteachableteacher resourcesteen/adult poemsterza rimasthankfulthank yous and referencesthe business sidethings to do iftracy nelson maurertrioletstunie munson-bensonvideosVikram MadanvillanellevillanellesWater Can Be...wealthy elementaryWe BelongWhat's InsideWhy-kuwinterwonderwonderbreakword of the yearwordplaywordsmithswork for hirewritingwriting bookswriting processwriting promptswriting the life poeticyoung authors conferencesYouTubeZapZap Clap Boomzenozentangle
Show More Show Less

Discover more from Laura Purdie Salas

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading

Join Laura's monthly newsletter for eductators

Get three of Laura's favorite poetry activities when you subscribe to "Small Reads."