Invention No. 1 in a minor
                for two voices
I would catch that goldfish in my hand                      
                      I remember the water                                                           
 
trapped against the bowl’s clear plastic.                     
                              falling to the level of my waist 
 
                  It would fit inside my thumb if                
 from a line above my skull.                                             
 
the base tapered like the tip does.                                         
                                The sky paled at the edges      
 
Lifting, the slick scales red-orange against the palm   
                                    like the dark water fissioning 
 
into white particles against the sand.                   
the heaving of its gills like the heart’s chambers  
 
rent open with each contraction.                                 
                       The body, an ocean, produces                                                                            
 
Its struggle, net of bone and muscle                     
its own salt.                                                                                                           
 
flexing wildly, an erratic sine wave.                                                                  
                                                          As a child, I     
 
A child, cruelly curious, 
              would lick my upturned hands to taste 
                                                                       
            I would take the fish in hand            
the salt lying in the grooves of skin,                                        
 
again and again                                                        
        and suck each finger hard               
 
                 to feel its thrashing coolness against my palm                                                   
like bones for marrow.                                                                                  
 
What a marvel it was.
What a marvel the body was.
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