by Kevin Casey
This was a fishbowl shaped like a giant brandy snifter,
furnished with crystal stones, a plastic plant, and a betta fish
that remained largely motionless in its stylized bonsai pond.
For the woman who set it on the receptionist’s counter,
it was a testament to her caprice, her sole challenge
to tedium, an oasis of color to brighten her day.
On the morning she arrived to find the cobalt drapery
of its fins hanging slack, she poured the fish’s lustreless remains
into the loo, committing them to the city’s waterworks.
But she returned the fishbowl to the desk, now holding nothing
but its glossy glass lozenges, high and dried of any meaning.
And when she pulled up anchor for another job, the fishbowl
remained in that same place for years, one of countless artifacts
we abandon and throw overboard in this sea of flotsam,
emptied of significance, knocking and bobbing in our wake.
Kevin Casey is the author of Ways to Make a Halo (Aldrich Press, 2018) and American Lotus, winner of the 2017 Kithara Prize (Glass Lyre Press, 2018). And Waking... was published by Bottom Dog Press in 2016. His poems have appeared in Rust+Moth, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Connotation Press, Pretty Owl Poetry, Poet Lore and Ted Kooser's syndicated column ‘American Life in Poetry.’ For more, visit andwaking.com