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