Monday, November 3, 2014

Fish Tanks in Chinese Restaurants

Fish Tanks in Chinese Restaurants

The waiters say that one of his eyes is blind,
and that the other is already being numbed

by the fatal white. I bend over
his dusty house, watching his silver S-shape

slither through the green fluid, at times nudging
the plastic bridge in the corner.

The crumpled Post-It on the side of the tank
states that his name is Peter,

but it is highly improbable that any of them
have actually tried to ask him to make sure.

His sleepless eye watches for the disembodied evil
that, apparently, lives in the breath of wind whistling

through the crack in the front window, rippling
the water of the fish tank into crumpled silk.

A certain kind of spirit lives in stagnant water,
and a different spirit in running water. Or so they say.

Peter swims over his bed of blue stones,
then back again, a blind monk counting prayer beads

in an 48 inch slab of aquamarine deep sea
screwed into the greasy restaurant floor,

as he watches the mermaids in collared shirts
swim to the kitchen and back, bearing

the remnants of his dead friends surrounded
by strange weeds on bright platters. 

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