The Fish Hums to the Night
and the Night Hums to the Fish

Amanda Turner

They say in twenty years’ time some of our cities could be

underwater. Right now a major glacier in Antarctica is breaking

apart from the inside out. As we do. And yet

people are not screaming. They are hardly paying attention at all.

The moment of happiness is here, my daughter says.

We are playing a game where she begins a poem,

and I finish it as we walk to school past all the winter gardens

struggling in the cold. I remember a man on the radio saying,

We like things that resist us. He was talking about the way

truth gets at us — slowly, spread out, layer by layer.

My daughter asks where I want my body to go

after I die. I tell her I’m not sure, but the ocean

has always seemed like a nice place for ashes. Oh yes!

she exclaims, Another adventure! She must imagine me

swimming with beluga whales, porpoises, octopi,

and rainbow fish. She sees collaboration, continuation,

ongoingness. While I see it more as symbol,

sacrament. The moment of happiness is here, I think,

as I grip her small hand tightly. Like bird bones.

Like puffed rice. Yesterday I asked Google a question,

but before I could finish my thought, What will happen if ... ,

it finished my thought for me. What will happen if

I step into a black hole? Undoubtedly the question

I’d really been searching for. Pssh, psst Pssh, psst

is the sound my mother’s oxygen machine makes as it pumps air

to her clotted lungs. They say with black holes there’s an event horizon,

in other words, a point of no return when you fall

thin as rice paper toward a center, the singularity. Look!

The leaves around us are burning. The fish hums to the night

and the night hums to the fish, my daughter says, still playing

our game. We keep walking to see the sky and get closer

to the massive tree-nest we pass each day,

its dense universe of limbs knotted into a fist

where little birds fly out at us.


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