My wife dragged me to a birthday party where I knew no one.
I noticed a fish, alone, glaring in the tank behind me,
a beautiful, black angel fish.
“I know you,” she said.
“You kill my sisters and brothers, throw baited hooks at them,
ignore their staring eyes, butcher them even when still alive.
You would do that to me, but no one catches tropical fish.
If we were not small and beautiful and could be eaten,
you would swing hooks before us, reel us in triumph.”
I fought back: “I love tropical fish,
hope my retirement includes the Great Barrier reef,
colorful art gallery in the ocean.
I would love to swim with them.”
But I could deny nothing, thought of the tackle box I got for Father’s Day,
celebrative family fish dinners, vacations to the lake, a tradition from my Father,
fat stringer pictures on my computer gallery.
I knew I would not change.
I wanted to tell her that’s just the way the world is,
plead my humanity.
My wife brought me a drink, pulled me toward someone
I will never remember.
The angel turned her back, swam away.
Originally published in Soft Cartel