The Aquarium at Alcatraz
Maybe one of the men who broke out and never surfaced did not drown; there are rumors, anyway. In the myth more sacred inside, though— the myth stashed in dream and mattress and hippocampus—a yardbird frees some fish. Each time it’s told, the release increases. First a no-name cups a guppy in both hands and trots it out to sea; next thing, Al Capone is liberating the warden’s own jewel damsel. Story on story, ten blennies swell to a shoal of triggerfish; the bowl to a tank; the tellers pour the glass box full of so many gallons, a whole gang gets in on carrying the aquarium. From a distance, they could be pallbearers. Until they tilt the tank. Maybe grave robbers, then. But it does not signify; joyfully they tumble their plunder into a likely ribbon of ocean. And how quickly the current takes it: the fins and water, plastic wrack and dulse, pea gravel, sunken donjon, and all.