chocolate is a verb

colors, flavors, whims and other growing things

untroubled waters

undated artwork by J.I. KleinbergIn the living room on a rolling cart there was a five-gallon tank where a pair of near-colorless fish clung to one another by their round mouths.
Tiny tetras shot silver and neon darts around them and mollies finned along, small black shadows.
I was amused by the busy explorers, the whiskered ones, catfish and plecostomus, which I loved equally for its name, worth repeating over and over.
The bubbling hum of the filter was ever-present and each evening my mother would flick on the light in the tank to set the colors aglow, turning it off again before she went to bed.
Sometimes there would be an outbreak of snails, hitchhikers from the fish store, their faint trails drawn through the glaze of algae on the glass, and I would get to net the fish into a clean bowl so my father could scrub and de-snail the tank.
For a long time there was Oscar the oscar.
And in my room there was usually in those days a single fish circling a bowl. One or two green strands of plastic anchored in the gravel. A small box of fishy-scented flakes.
These quiet companions, ever captive, uncomplaining and finally one by one floating and flushed until there were none. And the tank and bowl and gravel and net were washed once more and put on a shelf in the basement, all memory of fish set aside.
. . . . .
undated artwork by J.I. Kleinberg


2 responses to “untroubled waters

  1. kristin June 4, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    We had guppies only. and one day the tank was put somewhere and left behind in the next move. After that, there were turtles.

  2. jik June 4, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    Yes! Guppies. And turtles.

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