Goldfish

by Jerrold Yam

Of course, time is kinder
where you are: it takes

half an echo
to circumscribe glass

with freshwater, the living room
concave and retreating

as if in humiliation. On days
when the sun does not ignite

your skin of orange taffeta,
sequinned by effervescence,

do you keep any records of
where you belong? The room

whited out and flowered
like a bride, the erstwhile

bride not aware of a new girl
dipping her palm in your ocean

like a cautious visitor, then
turning to rebutton

your owner’s creased shirt.
This all happens in the gentle

heartbeat of an afternoon,
an invisible swish of fins.

When your owner returns
with the more familiar,

older woman, you make sure
to pirouette a little faster,

orchestrated spurts of vermillion
to remind him

what now hides in water
is a palmful of fire.