“Fish Performance” By Sean Karns



Fish Performance

                        After Viewing a Lida Aboul photograph

You place the fishbowl in the freezer.  You sit on the couch and knit gloves, though it does not take long for the goldfish to freeze.  The poor goldfish, when removed from the freezer, it has a permanent O shaped mouth, and the fins are held in motion.  You chisel the goldfish into a novelty ice cube.  You raise the goldfish to your mouth; hold it in your palm as if lifting a child’s face and place a wishful kiss.  A little secret kept to yourself, and I can only think of your childhood: too many goldfish flushed.  Now you hold your memories in ice.  I look at your lips, wanting to be your strange ritual.


“Fish Performance” first appeared in the Los Angeles Review and is featured in the book Jar of Pennies.


About the Author: Sean Karns has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Illinois and a BA from The Ohio State University. He is the author of a collection of poetry, Jar of Pennies, and his poetry has appeared in the Birmingham Poetry Review, Hobart, Rattle, Pleiades, Los Angeles Review, Cold Mountain Review, Folio, and elsewhere; and his poetry has been anthologized in New Poetry from the Midwest. He is currently the poetry editor at Mayday Magazine.


More By Sean Karns:

From a Tree Limb

Outside the Bedroom

My Father’s Potato Death


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