Poetry For Our Time

Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason. -Novalis

Saltwater Fish

with 2 comments

I’ve tried to avoid posting old poems through this, because the idea (for me, anyway) was to practice writing, not just get comments, but I was looking through old poems, and I came across this one.  I really would like some feedback, please!  (We still have a lot of readers, but we’re losing the drive to comment, I think…)

When I was 18, just before I left for college,
my dad decided that he wanted to live out his lifelong dream
of maintaining a saltwater fish tank.
My mother was so excited.
She bought him a 50-gallon fish tank
for their 30th wedding anniversary.
My dad consulted books and fish store managers
all over the county before he began making saltwater.
Finally, he thought he had it down and he added a few fish.

They died within the hour.

He got the hang of it eventually, though.
He set up sinks and tanks and buckets
with pipes running all over the place in the basement.
He drove my mom crazy
with all of his gadgets and pipes and buckets
and salt
and water
and fish.
She loved, however, sitting and watching the fish
before she fell asleep,
so she put up with it.

I went to college and came back
for breaks and holidays and a few odd weekends.
Every time, the fish were there
and my dad was in the basement
messing with the tanks and pipes.
And my mom was in the family room watching the fish.

She loved those fish.

By the time I was 19, my dad
had this saltwater fish thing down to a science.
He made the perfect solution of saltwater in the basement
and cleaned those tanks every Sunday.
He’d wear this ridiculous old undershirt
with the sleeves cut off to clean the tanks.
He had cut off the sleeves so they wouldn’t get wet
when he reached in to scrape the sides of the tank
which was kind of gross
(scraping the side of the tank, and him in that shirt).

My mom would still watch those fish
before she went upstairs to bed
and you could pretty much always bet
my dad would fall asleep on the couch.

When I was 20, my dad left.
He took some of the fish with him
and set up a tank of his own.
My mom kept watching the fish he had left.
She tried to keep making saltwater
and caring for those fish,
but it was too much work.

Eventually, the tank got moldy and full of algae and all of the fish died.

She really missed those fish, though.

Probably about as much as she missed my dad.


Written by Ashley

February 21, 2009 at 8:27 pm

Posted in Poem

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Samsa this is beautiful. I don’t know what else to say.


    February 22, 2009 at 3:24 am

    • Thanks…


      February 22, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: