The Blue Fish

I watched in the swirl, the blue fish paddle

steadily away from the boat,

knowing that it had been hooked before,

the wound protruding wormlike from his jaw.

 

Today would not be his last fight.

He would not be a photo prize.

He wanted not the weight of air,

just the restless, endless flow all around,

the homely tide.

 

Algae speckled his skin

refracting rainbow fingers

like prayers in the morning

and brown moldy spots on his lateral line

like vespers recited in a dark nave.

 

Swirls of lilies flowed beneath his belly

revealing his antiquity and mortality.

 

He danced defiantly along the reef,

shedding embedded sand,

corrupted water weighing him down

the worms wriggling on barbed Js above,

the anemones gesticulating alluringly beneath.

 

He once was suspended between ocean/heaven

everything green slipping off,

his blue mocked by the lighter sky,

his lungs rejecting its oxygen,

his blood rejecting its gravity

that cut his very being.

 

He was born with scales,

flexible bones Ill-suited for this rigid world,

born to glisten never knowing. 

more beautiful peony’s,

things more lovely than him

rooted in lands beyond his sight and ken.

 

His eyes seemed larger than mine

and in a certain graceful way

they had the heavy density of a stain glass panel

trying to contain all beauty in an icon.

They shifted only towards the light.

 

He stared mouth agape and every scar,

every hook wound fell off, revealed itself,

proof that he will never be any one’s prize.

 

Like everyone else, he had learned

the wisdom of the wound,

that life was not in victory,

but in surviving, the possibility,

the hope of catch and release.

 

I started my rusty boat

and in the dart of his rainbow

swimming away, swimming away,

I felt the thanks of his fin and tail,

as I moored in the direction home.