when my sister was six or some age
thereabouts, she gave me a paper fish
longer than her arm, colored with an array
of shades pulled from her box of dull pastel
crayons. the fish’s head is red, but some scales
were lime or purple or yellow, a fish to rival
rainbows, a gift from a child, a child herself
a token from god who lets life continue as it is,
a spiraling swirl of water flowing endlessly
into a small hole at the beckoning of a lever.
the fish is already fraying although not even
a year has passed for paper is paper despite
the vibrant impermanence that dots our
thoughts. a caged bird sings inside the mind,
and for all of our straining we can barely
hear the notes, the vocal cords’ faint strumming.