SPOTLIGHT: Love of Ornamental Fish by Beth Gulley

October 4

The pink carbon copy
says I now own a gym
membership (I think).
I can’t read it
or the yoga class schedule,
but no matter.
I can swing a dumbbell
and hit the up arrow
on the treadmill.
I speak gym.

October 23

How lucky
to find dice
in your pillow.
How lucky
to find marbles
on the stairs.
How lucky
to meet a friend
after so much

November 1

The glue police confirm
nothing binds like love
of ornamental fish.

December 6
If Buddha were here
he would tell you
the problem is not
with the internet,
but with your mind.
Technological hiccups
teach patience and priorities.

December 15
I rose at 6:00,
rode a foggy bus for an hour,
shivered through breakfast in a cafeteria
all to listen to your 2-minute
impromptu speech.

Since you failed to attend,
I’ve spent 12 hours
discussing your grade.
All you had to do was roll out of bed.

I see where I went wrong.

December 16

Outside of Christendom
an iced reindeer cookie
on a coffee shop shelf,
a gaudy tree
in front of the mall
don’t make up
for the callous way
you assume
I’ll work
on Christmas Eve
without time-and-a-half
and an apology.

December 18

I don’t know the names of birds
in the tree outside my window,
or that glean in the bushes
by my classroom.
But as I walk by the campus lake,
I’m overtaken
by the nostalgia of ducks.


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