“Stooges,” by Tina Posner

Dec 20th, 2011 | By | Category: Poetry

I must confess I am not quite so Nice,

To Damn all little Gallantries for Vice 

          –Sarah Fyge, “The Repulse to Alcander”

I can’t remember my dreams
but they leave me bathed in sweat.
Maybe the problem is
I still haven’t figured out how
my family was replaced by three
goldfish, named after the Stooges.
The fourth, who arrived DOA,
was Shemp, and he appears to be
unmourned. Nor do they seem to miss
the jailbird daddy who left them behind.
But, I think the fish might love me
or at least they recognize me as
the food lady. They swim to
my gaze and mouth wet kisses.
The cat is surprisingly indifferent
or oblivious to these orphans.
I guess peaceful coexistence
for a cat and three fish is possible
as long the food lady comes through.

And although the sound
of their tank filter makes me
have to pee all the time,
I guess I love them too—
partly because they were
nearly flushed down the toilet
by someone from social services,
and partly because their water
is so hopeless murky, it’s like they’re
swimming around in my head.
But I love them most for rising
to the surface to look for one last
crumb of food that might be floating there.
Their optimism is so touching, and
when the sunlight works it alchemy
on their golden scales, they glow
incandescent inside algaed glass
sporting their punch lines of shit.


Tina Posner is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas. John Ashbery once called her “Galileo” in an elevator because she said, “Up,” when he asked where the elevator was going. This has only contributed to her awkward relationship with the Church.

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