“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.”
Night’s dark cadenza fades. To wild
applause of birds, the moon’s cornet-
bell ducks behind the blue
curtain of dawn. Now, from cracks
and pools that waves have gouged
into pahoehoe, hermit crabs drag
scavenged shells after the retreating tide.
Gray-barred doves ocarina soft alarms.
From green palm trees, yellow finches
screech, “Retreat!” Yet, in a round breach
in the black rock, one small orange fish
delays too long. Trapped
in a pool that slinks away as daylight’s
hard, hot hand slams down, it’s just
a fish: no plans or projects
left undone; no friends or family
who will mourn. Still, it fears to feel
its circuits short out, its liquid
rhythms quit. Like the prayers of a rocked
boxer, trainer shouting words
that he can’t understand, the fish
zips back and forth across the ring—
enormous once; now closing in.
Flashing side to side, flipping
through the air, the fish finds only
that all escape-routes end. No life-line
opens to the sea six feet away,
its gray chop bluing in the sun,
its surface surging up and down,
forward and back.