I killed the fish. It was not deliberate.
It was a sudden occurrence, which is the same way my grandmother described her recent fall.
Suddenly, I was somewhere else.
Driving on a dark country road listening to The Mountain Goats I see over and over the bright blue body, as I knock over the cup, fall to the wooden floor.
I am driving to my mother’s house at 11pm on a Tuesday night because she is afraid her mother is going to die.
The woman at the petstore when we went the same day to buy a replacement, a beautiful tall woman with tattooed forearms and crimson lipstick and a scratchy voice, told us they can stay alive if their gills are still wet, so I think I killed it in my panic, trying to scoop it with my hand, touching its body, over the lip of the cup, empty now, to put it back in the tank which was in the kitchen to be cleaned. It sank, gray-gilled, to the bottom.
I wounded its body trying to save it. I feel like a monster.
Why you want my fish to die? He asks tearfully. He says he comprehends but doesn’t really, the idea of on accident. (Sometimes instead of asking why he will demand, for what REASON?)
Everything feels harsh and sad like walking barefoot on gravel. My sweetheart and our child are so far away. I want to feel their sleeping weight but I am driving and crying a little. My grandmother is stuck a hospital bed and my mother experiences helplessness.
I cannot lift her.
Everything feels harsh and sad like the fact that we have too much but we still want and rage. We have toys and full gas tanks and a fish that we buy and keep in a tank, snails. We have our choice of snacks from the bulk bins at the health food store. All these people we love but live too far from. All these dependent animals we hurt without meaning to.