The Plecostomus

Hunts algae on glass, a
sludge-sucker of garbage from
the tank bottom where it lies,
stony eyed, stupid, sublime,
getting thick on koi sticks, its
sickle tail and fan dorsal
winged out, trudging in fish
feces that makes the food it eats.

I will not look at the sun but
love the flesh. I want the whole
bottle of Benedictine to bathe my
throat; I love stretching in silk
sheets, to taste the thick obesity
of cream. Mozart's delight is
the wind of feather-flight,
the swing of a woman's stride,
how her long hair falls from
around her shoulders to softly
brush the Brahms of my arm.

Some have said the flesh is a snare
but I know how sweet the winter
day is when the warm air makes
mist and thin cloud that I can watch
the sun through. Then I may stare
into it's Great Light to see the face
of glory without harm. This star burns
for me, thanks to my mist, the flesh
that admits the sight of the sun!

So Plecostomus, this ugly algae eater,
is my companion, linked with me
to the Living that I have seen only
because of clouds and mist. We are
water soaked, earth and sky-loving,
both, kin of vapor and light.

Praise these screens: words and drink
meat and music, that to my fish eye brings
at once both earthy and heavenly things.

January, 1998
Steven Fortney

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