Today's poem is by April Lindner


Someone's carried off the aquarium,
that burbling, almost breathing box,
from the waiting room where silent women
flip through magazines. I'd have chosen
the seat beside the small warmth
of its lamp, its sapphire lappings.
Fish would flitter up to gulp and gape,
to mouth their ohs before startling back
in infinite loops. Now as I wait
for my name, for a room
and a paper dress, for news
good or bad, I miss their flickering
silvers, blacks, and oranges,
their neon stripes, their fins
that trailed like scarves, shuddered
like flames, how they took
the four glass walls, the pretense
of coral and green pulsing weeds,
as their benevolent planet. What became
of the mollies, the gourami, the tetras,
the blue damselfish? Did they die off
one by one, too much trouble
to replace? I think of them floating
dull-eyed to the surface, scooped and flushed
by the receptionist, brisk in her rounds,
watering the ficus, straightening
the paintings of tulips, her footsteps
swallowed by thick mauve pile.

Copyright © 2009 April Lindner All rights reserved
from Cave Wall
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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