…and the end of day is aquarium colored
—Colette “Le Miroir”*
We believe we will live forever until
we can’t believe it again.
“Stars in the Mouth of the Wolf”
Fortunately, breathing under water
is easier, now that I admit to the drowning.
Even in this blue-green half-light, the cancer
stinks up the room—floats—covered in the white
sheets of nostalgia. The quiet is blinding.
Someone’s nephew is someplace else now, and we
are here remembering—fast cars from another world,
racing. The quiet is not as blinding as it is heavy,
heavy as a Hemi at the bottom of a
fish tank. The old blowfish is alive and well,
just not here, in this restaurant, in this desert
where fish are a tourist attraction. The brothers
will argue over who gets to pay the bill and be
thankful to be able. They like the blowfish story.
Don’t talk about the liver, the poisonous ovaries,
the sleeping pills of denial. Such tales keep me
up at night. All this sand is just tumbled rocks
slowly releasing their fossils into the currents.
Motor homes whir out of town, comforting
their passengers with the promise of blue-green
landscapes, but there cannot be enough water,
not anywhere in the world, to console this caravan.
*In this short story, an older, and presumably wiser Colette has
a conversation with her fictional double, Claudine, about youth and aging.
Previously published in Tears in the Fence, No. 55, summer 2012