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