Posts Tagged ‘biologist’

In the dirt crawl space
under the yellow house
my brother and I
would play among dad’s jars—
dozens of jars
filled with clear greenish liquid,
all of them holding
dead white fish,
their colors
long since faded.
Every black-capped container
was labeled with typewritten
lettering, but we could not yet read.
Mostly we stared
at their clouded scales,
their pale fins,
their useless eyes.
We did not question
why they were there,
stacked beside the winter coats
and boxes of dishes we seldom used.
Dad finally threw them away
when we moved,
though he did not want to let them go.
He cared about those fish in jars.
Not the bodies themselves,
I suppose. Perhaps
because he had been
so alive with the catching
and naming of them.
Perhaps because
there are so many things
that cannot be caught
nor labeled nor set aside.
Like the pain that
even then was beginning
to reach for his joints, grabbing
his shoulders, hips and knees.
Like his father’s anger
that he always carried—
something pale, many scaled,
something vital that died.

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