jillypoet: mom trying to write

Each day I wish I had invented waterproof sticky notes (for shower inspiration) or pen-friendly diapers to get down all my quirky thoughts that I am sure are relevant and publishable. And so God (actually another writer-mommy) sent me The Blog.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Bad (luck) comes in threes

Timeline: How the Tragedy Unfolded

It was a love triangle of sorts,
a man, a wife, a fish.
While news of America’s deadliest shooting spree
droned on in the eleven o’clock hour,
my husband massacred the goldfish,
my orange bubble-eyed lover.
The black goldfish floated to the top
after the dinner dishes were rinsed,
an unexplained loss, his reputation
for gathering and holding a home’s death
in the color of his fins
proven true.
To console, my husband, fish master,
brought in the buckets and hoses.
Outside, sirens wailed, firemen rushed
past, en route to drain another basement flooded
by a surprise Spring nor’easter.
“None of us thought it was gunshots,”
the college sophomore said.
But within seconds the source of the sound
became clear, when a gunman entered the lecture hall,
shot the professor before turning his guns on students.

Inside, grief counseling began with a sharp intake
of breath, water rushing up and out
of the tank, out with the bad, in with the good.
Scrubbing algae, stink of fish death
off the glass walls drowns
out the tinkling notes of the television’s death toll.
Too late, a wayward fish swims upstream,
headlong into the syphon.
“I’m not sure how long it lasted.
It felt like a really long time,
but was probably only a minute or so.”
Dumb luck sucks his beady eye
out of it’s socket.
Red lights flash, another house flooded,
another party of rescuers dispatched.
Before he can be netted and iced,
friends of the goldfish eat his hanging eye.
Nature takes care of its own.
The people of Blacksburg struggled to find order
in the wake of the shooting.

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11 Comments:

Blogger Poet with a Day Job said...

I've been peeking back here for 17 days straight and by golly, I am not disappointed by the wait! When you pull it out, you pull out all the stops!

I have so many favorite lines I can hardly stand it...but I most love how you managed to intertwine a marriage, with the death of a pet, with the recent massacre and make it one giant encompassing truthful and beautiful verse about nature. Truly great work!

Here's all my faves:

"a man, a wife, a fish."

"my husband massacred the goldfish,
my orange bubble-eyed lover."

"Before he can be netted and iced,
friends of the goldfish eat his hanging eye.
Nature takes care of its own."

5:35 PM  
Blogger Jon said...

God, Jillypoet, I don't know that I was ready for this. You've captured it all and even magnified all the bits that make it difficult to concentrate, to swallow, to breathe. If good art is that which keeps us awake at night, then you've given us some great art here.

On a personal level, your poem asks us to have faith, and it asks so compellingly that I will try. Thank you.

8:28 PM  
Blogger Angie said...

Wow - really well done, jilly - love this. I especially liked this part: Inside, grief counseling began with a sharp intake
of breath, water rushing up and out
of the tank, out with the bad, in with the good.
I love how you wove everything together seamlessly.

Welcome back! :)
One a day for the rest of April???

1:52 PM  
Blogger Sasha said...

oh, jillypoet. you've captured the way this bizarre and horrific event has intersected with the minutia of our lives. so poignant. thank you.

11:52 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

"Weaving" is the word - a great tapestry. I gotta read this again.

4:13 PM  
Blogger ...deb said...

This is the only "account" that has made any "sense" to me. I hate to just say well done, but it's all I can say.

5:54 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

you've really done a wonderful job commenting on the tragedy and making it poignant and appropriate. I love the way you've integrated all the different tragedies of a daily life with a tragedy of our cultural life.

10:01 PM  
Blogger Marilyn said...

This is so beautiful and quirky and touching all at the same time. Well done!

12:54 AM  
Blogger Crafty Green Poet said...

This is excellent, I love all the individual narratives and how you've woven them together into a whole. Beautifully written too.

3:06 AM  
Blogger gautami tripathy said...

Liked the way those two invents were juxtaposed. Running into each other yet retaining their individual angst.

gautami
Edited Memories

10:01 AM  
Blogger Mike Mc said...

Thanks for keeping things in perspective. And, thanks for left justified quotes, right justified doesn't work for me.

1:15 PM  

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