The best show tonight is not the tightrope
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
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
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.
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
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.