- “Woman Fries and Eats Pet Goldfish After Fight With Husband”
—headline, associated press
I made sure the pan was plenty hot— the pain over quick—all seven sizzling in butter and salt, heads and tails flipped,just once, to the other side. That day we bought themat Sunny Pointe Mall—the tied plastic bags bouncingin our hands—we floated along, certain about the feedingand caring, that soon we’d add a swim-through pagoda,a little bridge. He stared at the tank first thing each morning,waiting for coffee, always complaining: “It’s too weak!”I felt that way about his kisses, excuses, his whinesover the fish needing more space. He called me mean whenI netted the black-spotted one in a corner, for onlya minute, so that the others could reach their fair shareof food. He knew how much I wanted a special anniversary,but he gave me a sweat shirt, our trip to Reno out [End Page 408] because he couldn’t trust the guy next doorwith a key, let alone with the fish. I’m not sorry I gulpedthem down without chewing— no scales left clingingto my teeth, no bones sticking in my throat.But I wish he hadn’t walked in to see one pair left,those stony eyes, ragged faces, burnt fins matching. [End Page 409]
christine rhein’s collection, Wild Flight, won the Walt McDonald First-Book Prize in Poetry from Texas Tech University Press. Her poems have been selected for Poetry Daily, The Writer’s Almanac, and Best New Poets. A former automotive engineer, she lives in Brighton, Michigan.