for rudolfo anaya

literally a golden fish, i could not believe my eyes as they were,
still red from a terrible attack in the basement where
i was vulnerable, thinking about all the trouble of april
and the future. this fish, i swear
to anyone who will listen, fourteen or fifteen
inches long, lazed at the surface
while i spoke to my mother—why are you
fearful in a safe country? she wanted to know,
where God is surely sovereign and edges
are edges and not mute like the worst kinds
of pain. this was a question for which i should
have been ready. yet in the last crisp noon
sun before a june heat
we saw a fish instead of an answer,
literally the golden carp itself ripped
otiose and fat from anaya’s pages long since forgotten.

it was enough of a miracle that we could both
think about auspices for a while instead of that horrible word
“decision” which is almost always a lie and a fantasy anyway.

i wish you had been there to see it with us. i’m sure people
must feed it things like spare potato rolls and kraft cheese.

but then magic things are magical not because they are made of it,
after all, but because they are
not made of it, i think.