Monday Poem: In the Belly of a Sick Fish that Can’t Afford to Flush Itself

“You’re lucky I ever even looked at you”

is not what Jonah wanted to hear

on his blind date, twenty-second in a series

of serious disappointments, boring glass-apple

stories, robbed of even a moral at the core.


And this latest was off to such a promising start,

from his suggestion they meet for pre-supper coffee,

cherry tarts, and ice cream, to shaking hands — no hugs —

pulling out her chair, and beaming mere-mortal adoration of her

list of endless talents, recited at a hummingbird’s pace

before the first cup was even poured.  Twenty minutes in,

she asked about him, his hobbies, his passions — right about then

his lips flipped, slipping up his words.


Nerves already twitching, it probably wasn’t a good idea

to prod them with caffeine before courageously attempting

to calm himself with the chocolate straight-from-the-freezer

cream that numbed his tongue, and set his teeth chattering

as he blathered on and on about his love of cherry tarts, his skill

as a marksman, the pounds he could squat, and his unending passion

for Kant.


Apparently appalled by his stutter-mumbled philosophy,

with plum-sized eyes, she accused him or it:  “Disgusting!”

“Immature!”  “Pervert!”  “I can’t believe–!”  He didn’t understand

where she was coming from, but he knew the destination:

I now mispronounce you

boyfriend and girlfriend.


He was content in the knowledge some would never know

anything that stood beyond the bounds of their own experience;

but he failed miserably to understand why he could never comprehend

his own awkward words.  The space and time in his mind

only made sense in the realm of a different species.


But as she rose, he tried to recover:  “When I saw you, I thought for sure

my luck had changed.”  Clearly untrue, based on the cruel and unusual

laughter he inspired:  Just a quip about his luck as she whipped back

her braids, grabbed her jacket, turned, and stomped for the door. 


Jonah sat still, shivering, smoldering,

wondering how he could reasonably rest forever

in the dark without ever even experiencing

more than just a hint of a spark.

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