Poem | Fishbait

                                      —for JBV

Night after night, the fish in my aquarium
pull me in to a school of thought
ancient and deep, over my head.
So far I’ve learned that they’re hooked on life
as something intertwined with death

so I thought they should hear about the aquarium I made
in third grade, in memory of my sister-to-be
who arrived too early to survive: a shoe box lined in aluminum foil
with a fish of red construction paper
hung on black thread
one eye on each side, sparkling with glitter.

As I told the fish, even thinking about it
makes me swallow
like I did the other day
when I saw my friend ripple by
in memoriam, his entire life
in one thin column
filling my eyes
with his death.

The fish swallowed too—there wasn’t a dry
eye in the group.

Published in the June 3, 2016 issue: 

Jo-Anne Cappeluti earned her PhD in English at the University of California at Riverside. Her poems have been published in Common Ground, Cultural Weekly, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Lyric.

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