Their relationship was one-sided,
of course, the fish did little
except swim peaceful circles
around the edge of the bowl.
He’d mastered the small window
of his life. She tried not to over
feed him, a sure death the pet
store owner warned. Fish will
eat whether they are hungry
or not. Her first husband was
similar. He grubbed
the kitchen cabinets for chips,
dribbled crumbs on his belly,
into the cushions of the couch.
She wearied over vacuuming,
brushing Lays and Cheetos
from the bottoms of her feet.
When she complained, he suggested
she wear shoes. The goldfish was
simpler, his mess contained
in colored pebbles, his slow journey
around the bowl expected.
Once a month, she’d put him
in a coffee cup with a dipper of water
and drain the bowl. She rinsed
the pebbles under the tap, which
she had to admit were rank.
Opening the window, lighting
a sandal wood candle,
took less effort than stuffing
laundry into the Maytag,
the bubbles the fish
kissed against the glass
nearly a greeting.