The day after you cut down the noble fir tree and Tom said he hoped it would snow, I asked you to take me to the funky lesbian-owned pet store on Division, so I could pick out a fish. The store was hot and muggy and smelled of living creatures, longing to escape their glass tanks and see-through plastic carriers. Children accompanied their parents through aisles of box turtles and geckos and snakes and all of the rumble fish were lethargic but one.
I told the punk-rock cashier girl that I was naming him Neptune and she said he was mighty handsome.
We took Neptune to the coast and explained to the people that came up to learn what we were doing on the beach, that this was his first time returning home, and everybody looked at my tiny fish looking out at the enormous ocean, and agreed he was something special to see, here, of all places, where Haystack Rock juts from the crashing waves, skirted in fog until sun breaks illuminate her deep green peaks and landings.
You shouted out to me, how the tide was coming in fast, as I lied on my belly and steadied my shot, and then you scrambled to rescue Neptune’s jar, and the camera I held, as I kneeled in the waves, caught off guard and suddenly soaked, trying to run before I was even standing,
ending up laughing with you laughing with me too.
And I told you how unexpected and wonderful to be embraced by the ocean and brought into playfulness without effort all because of a tiny fish who flares his face like a sweet pea blossom, feeling like a firecracker.