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The Women in Literature and Life Assembly
of
The National Council of Teachers of English
Editor:  Patricia Kelly kellyp@vt.edu
Volume 6
Fall 1997


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The Twelve-Year-Old Granddaughter from Tampa Feeds the Fish Off Mallory Pier

Donna Decker

The best show tonight is not the tightrope

walker, fire-catcher,

bagpipe player, dancing pig -- but I do want to see

the man tangled with chains wiggle free.


Here on the side dock, where almost no one

watches, the fish swim

in rainbow clouds for popcorn. First I saw a red

cloth wave,

then like magic it became a parrot fish,

then more and more colors flew toward the surface

like a watery sky-ful of huge bright birds.


My grandma taught me ways to color swimming

parrots--

flourescent scarlet, lightning pink, turquoise

shimmers, orange ice.

Two kiss with dark lipsticked mouths as

they pop up

through the water for a kernel.


Angel fish flash purple and yellow wings;

little armies ofbIack and white striped sargeant-majors

wait their small turns.

Piles of tiny pinks and blacks fog the bottom.

And alone,

a pale rose barracuda weaves like a witch's wand.


My floating circus of colors ends when only salt

lines the carton.

Like a beautiful dream that I wake up from

smiling.


I love myself that I know their names.

I sing them like a lullabye to my little sister

to keep away her bad dreams.


Donna Decker has authored the forthcoming "Under the Influence of Paradise," a series of dramatic monologues about a fictional Key West. She created the choreopoem "Dear Riz" and is coeditor of "North of Wakulla: An Anthology of Tallahassee Poets." She teaches English at the University of Wisconsin/Stevens Point.

 

© 1997, The Women in Literature and Life Assembly of the National Council of Teachers of English (ISSN #1065-9080). Permission is given to copy any article provided credit is given and the copies are not intended for resale.

Reference Citation: Decker, Donna. (1997). "The Twelve-Year-Old Granddaughter from Tampa Feeds the Fish Off Mallory Pier." WILLA, Volume VI, p. 18.


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