They are all fish and give out varying degrees of fishiness. But the plain truth is, they look pretty silly with bosoms. Frequently they lock themselves out of their rooms and even forget their room numbers. They scream and shout, throw things and roll on the floor kicking their heels. They pretend that they are tipsier than they are. They’re gay, young, alive-looking. They deny the truth of the bomb. If they seem stubbornly stuck in your head, you can replace them easily by saying a prayer that you may recall from childhood. Sunburn can be fatal to them. My grandmother, who was a doctor, used the power of suggestion to make them disappear. At any rate, they’ve relented, evidently, in their previous damning of one and all… But make no mistake: they’re here to stay. They will dry and stiffen on your skin. They can be had in plaid, or plain for the rain, initialed, jeweled, tooled, shot with metallic or polka dots. They are known as independent contractors by the income-tax people. Defy them, if you can. They have vivid imaginations, which they will exercise on you, slowly at first, to see if you are a willing little fish, ready to bite.
Jenn Koiter’s poems and essays have appeared in Smartish Pace, Bateau, Barrelhouse, Ruminate, Rock & Sling, and other journals. She lives in Washington, DC with three gerbils named Sputnik, Cosmo, and Unit.
image: MM Kaufman