Imagine

an aquarium, one fish inside, slowly circling.

Imagine two cameras set up to film this

 

aquarium, to film this one fish . . . Is it a clown fish?

A clown fish? Sure, a clown fish. Imagine also

 

you are unable to see the aquarium directly, it is in

another room & you don’t know where that room

 

is. You are in your own room, watching a screen,

the clown fish swims on that screen in that faraway

 

aquarium—a box within a box, a glass  

 

within a glass. Think

of the cars we used to drive, no more than two

couches on wheels, we’d drink & drive & park

 

& make out, we had nowhere else to be. Our girls

were named Mary & Mary—it was a Catholic town—

 

& we’d watch each other move over & through them

& they, moving, watched us, a dim light buried in

 

the ceiling far above us. Sometimes I’d catch Mary’s

eye, but not my Mary. It wasn’t as bad as you might

                                                                        imagine—

 

we’d share whatever pills we’d swiped from our moms’

medicine chests, we’d grind them up & snort them if

there wasn’t enough

 

& there was never enough. Now remember that

aquarium, those cameras, that room you will never

 

enter—the screen is split

 

so it seems you are watching two fish, but it is only

one. One fish turns, the other turns at the same

 

moment, as if synchronized, as if they are talking to

each other, as if they knew—this, the scientists

 

assert, is happening all the time—we are in a room,

watching the day unfold, but we have no idea

 

how many cameras are set up. One fish swims

 

inside its tiny ocean—Mary smiles at Mary, not

at me. We think this world must be broken into

 

fragments, we think memories are dispersed

throughout the brain & that the brain itself is

 

dispersed.

 

We think we began from a bang, but the bang never

stopped. Mary watches

 

Mary, waiting to see what will happen—the night 

has to end somewhere. Communion. Communion

 

is the word.

 

 

flynnNick Flynn’s most recent book, The Reenactments, which Kirkus calls “a truly insightful, original work,” completes a trilogy begun with Another Bullshit Night in Suck City (2004). His previous book, The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands (2011), was a collection of poems linked to the second book of the trilogy, The Ticking is the Bomb (2010), which the Los Angeles Times called a “disquieting masterpiece.” 

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