Tagged: the Fishes

Senility Lane

the blanket says I brought it on myself
but doesn’t remember why
she might’ve meant how much I’ve grown
or the tree I told her has fallen in the yard
I hope she doesn’t think a tree
has fallen on me in the yard
or that I might have already called her
she might have already told me
the things I’m supposed to know
like how to get out from under a tree
how to clean a fish over the phone
my parents could’ve looked it up themselves
or probably done it for me
but they made me call my grandmother
who walked me through a process
I’d have to call her again to do
that little perch, its bones
like splinters in its own flesh
newspaper torn, black blood and
sunlight shifting in the winded
tree, garage glinting
it had the look of still writhing
or still writing, which is
the back and forth of fear for me:
a dead thing still moving
an alive thing that doesn’t

Fish Gardens

those fish were caught by men
with their feet in water
those fish were caught by men
with their feet on land

in the middle, a couple of babies
pose for their wedding pictures
her dress is lumpy, leguminous
like it is actually cauliflower
his has a pocket for his phone

everything outside their body
is light. literal, actual light
light is decided upon in the brain
the brain is a folded leaf

this is can turn into anything
imagine we are fish swimming
in a man made water system
never have the edges to things
been more clear

I Know, I Know

We are born. We are immediately
placed in the queue
of another birth. As infants

we gape like fish being moved
between containers. Latex lining the
hands – eating – understanding words
We are passed through membranes

Catching an animal for the first time is birth
Feeling the largeness of body, the crush
of loving hands. The imposition of self
on something’s insides, seeing them

Administering touch is birth
Each time done with a little more intention
More and more the membranes of latex
Driving home at night because of school

Remember we rationed the air?
Gaping like fish with the windows down
a larger membrane of screamable music
playing. Past that

the darkness, merging like bubbles
the coming to pass that nobody cares
That was a birth for me, when I realized
nobody cares. That the soul

is a giant child
holding the body. Loving the world
I think truly loving it, but crushing it
Taking it out of its home

Fish Could Mean a Thing to Say

it makes more sense
to pave
just two strips of driveway

or to drive on the lawn
repeatedly. one of my neighbors
threw a bunch of beer cans

and drove over those
now it’s flat, glinting
like scales
off a gut fish. they still add to it

a few Coors a night
during winter. sitting around
the campfire, cooking perch
the smell of a tree’s
tense changing

and i find it hopeful
that even
in this day
and age

there are still
hazardous settlers
we must burn
off our meat

and fish
to trick out of water
with string

How They Eventually Met

a wind on my face
like fish changing direction

a shimmer of light
when one of them moves,
all of them follow

when I was young,
the young mothers
would take me and my friends
toilet-papering houses

they said we would do it anyway
some of my friends
were tall as men, even then

those nights in the yards of girls
for someone else – I would focus
on throwing the roll
I would grab its tail in the air
so gently, let it spin, as if I were Matt
or Philip jockeying girls
over the ledge of our swimming pool
before pulling them back,
keeping them dry

I was small. I could only ever hope
to look a girl in the eye
before falling in the water also

Severed Thoughts of a Blessing

The trees in her yard. I can look them
in the eye. My grandmother throwing the football
My grandmother teaching me things on the phone
like how to clean a fish

A factory, its catch-all basket catching watches
wedding-rings. A tattoo being twisted past the knuckle
All the ways a man can lose his finger. A thimble
for love that is more like a helmet

Being alone. I think of being alone
until by thought I am guaranteed. There’s newspaper
laid on the garage floor. The fish I attempted
to learn on. There’s blood, the drying muscles
my grandmother’s voice saying
Go ahead, you can eat the bones

Devil’s Garden Utah

we climbed on rocks
before stopping to watch them

and wandered into a dozen people’s
pictures of a hole, forever skipped
as places to sit that are taken

until the night, when we got lost
we barely made it back
by following the hardness
of where other people had stepped

you stood in the center
of a frozen pond, a girl in a dress of ice
frilled with directionless fish

that saw me grow calm,
fluid in the face of your danger

Big Fish, Small Pond

in the small town of her aunt
there is one cobbler of shoes
for the animals, one doctor
one aquarium gravel vendor
one poet

in the small pond of her aunt
there are many great fish, whose
tails can be felt stirring up
the water from anywhere

in the big city she can see less
far, her lips stay parted to the sky
she waits for the clouds
to saturate and sink into her mouth
like flakes of food

Hermit Crab on the Woodpecker

Poor old woodpecker tried
the telephone pole. Forty-thousand
calls, dropped into the sea

Of all the things the humans say
how much of them
have been said forever?

I am hungry. I am thirsty
I am crawling inside
something else to sleep

I can’t come to the phone right now
I am staying behind
on my own
to fidget with the mammoth carcass

Maybe its bladder
can be made into a bladder!

It’s your night to cook
Where are the hand attachments?
The forks, the knives, the spears
Why do hands make
such inadequate weapons
that we should have to
consider what we hold
before killing, before pulling off
the side of the road?

How long have words
been a part of the head?

Slanted lights
in black water, used
for tricking smaller fish
into listening, into
getting uncomfortably close