in the aquarium city, all lust turns glass

once, i sold my gills for a fried onion. 
floated on my back & tried to remember breathing with you 
in our tight apartment rooms before there were
so many ways to be contained. i seek out
decorations: colorful pebbles & a plastic fern.
talk the algae into writing rhymed poems. there used to be 
a service for a few nickles, a man would come
& be your father for the day. he would 
teach you how to swim & teach you how 
to sink to the bottom of your life. it has long
since gone out of business but still the flyers
are pasted to tanks. they read, "who doesn't need
someone to watch them trying?" the buses float
belly up & blinking. cat's cradle electric wires
promise we could be dry again 
but i don't believe it.
hope is a necessary something. not quite evil 
but not quite good. i have tricked myself 
into believing in airplanes & trips 
to white sanded beaches & loving someone 
without hunger. i eat very old pieces of heaven.
try not to mind the sour of what once 
dangled high above. it's the coming down
that's the hardest part. here is the depth again.
when i swim to the surface of my smallness 
even i can see the mountain. we all say it's growing
& will one day eclipse the sun but who is to say.
what i cling to is the thought that one say
i will slip into another's aquarium. find them 
terrifingly alone & they will talk the years away 
with me. we will watch stop lights & try to remeber
being children with solid legs. our mothers 
in their viking burials, still trying
to get us to work with our hands. instead,
i can admit i have always labored with my heart.
left the rest behind. took lessons 
from dead whales & each startled eye
of a school of sardines. 

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