The Rainbow Fish

The closed storybook rests on your rocking chest,
like a ship tossed on the sea, the sea.
And you are sleeping.
In the room, cut roses wilt and bleed and
weep in vases, scorched heads,
bowed in mourning, stooped in defeat.
Birds sing and shudder beneath the heavy
canvas cage cover.
Beautiful maidens flinch thoughtfully, eternally,
behind the dusty glass, imprisoning
oil paints and photographs.
Finest cloths, slashed into rags, bound into
fine, oriental rugs, adorn the floor we tread,
beaten into submission.
And the windows capture the sunlight,
anchoring it into ordered prisms on the
scoured wood floor, lattices like bars.
They caress your face, burn the shining
holographic scales on the book cover to life,
and you shine like day breaking
away— radiance escaping.
So sleep tight, my darling,
drift beneath the surface of dreaming,
little arms weary from swimming against the current.
Wait to wake, to know that the story is true.
Beautiful, they're going to want a piece of you.


This poem alludes to the children's book The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister, which I cannot claim, for it would be hypocrisy as well as plagiarism. I give credit where it is due. For those who are not familiar with the reference, the book is about a fish with glorious, shiny scales, who eventually shares the scales equally with the other fish to sate their jealousy.