Behind the Glass: Monterey Aquarium
For the boy who showed up for the field trip
The silver herrings race
in circles as if their cylindrical tank
were stretched out, stitched
to a coastline of surf and sand.
One turns back for a split second
of nonconformity, but immediately
is convinced there is one current.
Later when I develop the film
I recall Todd crying for the floating fish,
Jessica begging to buy a penguin
with her spending money, Chris hiding
from the stingray. I can still see
the crystal jellyfish, sharks, tuna
and dogfish in the grey-blue milk,
the halibut who lies on his side
in old age, letting his eyes rove
to watch for a quick lunch;
and finally, those splinters of silver
light orbiting behind bright glass.
Only now, looking at the snapshot
can I make out your outline
standing on the opposite side
of their tank, silent, hidden in the sea,
seeping through deep silver until clearly
I know you had been there all along.
Maggi Ann Grace