At the pet store on Court Street, I search for the perfect fish. The black moor, the blue damsel, cichlids and neons. Something to distract your sadness, something you don't need to love you back. Maybe a goldfish, the flaring tail, orange, red-capped, pearled body, the darting translucence? Goldfish are ordinary, the boy selling fish says to me. I turn back to the tank, all of this grace and brilliance, such simplicity the self could fail to see. In three months I'll leave this city. Today, a chill in the air, you're reading Beckett fifty blocks away, I'm looking at the orphaned bodies of fish, undulant and gold fervor. Do you want to see aggression? the boy asks, holding a purple beta fish to the light while dropping handfuls of minnows into the bowl. He says, I know you're a girl and all but sometimes it's good to see. Outside, in the rain, we love with our hands tied, while things tear away at us.
From Zero at the Bone by Stacie Cassarino. Copyright © 2009 by Stacie Cassarino. Used by permission of New Issues Poetry & Prose, Western Michigan University. All rights reserved.