box of crayons

swimming in the great saltwater
aquarium known as the ocean,
I see so many wild sights:
delicate periwinkle fish;
velvety black fish with electric blue
borders on their fins;
turquoise and green fish;
smallish fish with tiny
bright blue spots
on a field of darkest
midnight blue, a starry night,
electrified; green and pink
fish who look like they got
their color scheme from a
Polo Ralph Lauren catalog;
muddy brown fish with lighter
scales like pebbles and
dusty orange bellies; small
black fish with bright yellow tails
who dart out and attack
much bigger fish when the latter
invade their territory; tiny
fish with mud-brown heads
and ghostly white, almost translucent
bodies, who hide themselves
in holes in the coral so that
only their heads show.

I can hear a constant quiet
scritching sound
that surely must be the fish
nibbling away at the coral,
and then I swim over a school
of big blue and green parrot fish
and I see them taking bites
and hear the loud crunching
sound their beaks make.

my hair floats into my face
and it’s the same colors
as the coral – washed-out blonde,
greenish with hints of purple.

I follow a school of the periwinkle
and blue-black fish
for what feels like hours.
as I watch, it seems like
their colors change and become
subtly more intense
and beautiful. maybe it’s a
trick of the light. all I know
is that it feels like
some kind of benediction.

Published by

R. Brookes McKenzie

what fresh hell is this

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