When the fish bowl needs scrubbing from your small handprints
I take a damp cloth dipped in castile soap
contemplatively wash around the outer curve of the bowl
like my hand followed the curve of my belly
when you were inside me feet kicking.
You need me to tell you its okay
that your father is not here as the
snow falls like fastballs thrown by a famous pitcher.
When your father is not there, when the pond is covered with ice
You want me to tell you he will return soon.
You ask where is the fish’s (the one in the bowl) father.
I tell you he is all grown up and does not need a father.
You ask about the other fish that are not grownup
and their fathers
under the ice in the pond.
I tell you the fishes and their fathers are underwater
telling stories to each other.
They will come to the surface in the spring after the thaw.
You say watching me wash the bowl
I want daddy to come home
So small a mumble I can hardly hear.
I take the cloth follow the roundness of your face
with my hand smelling of lavender
wanting to protect you from ice
I am your first teacher
I cannot teach you the way gases change from solids to liquids
and back the cycle of change
(you have conquered your shoelaces this week)
or how people never come home
Even when it is spring and the ice has thawed.
Elizabeth Glixman is a poet, writer and artist. Her fiction and poetry have appeared online and in print in many publications including Wicked Alice, In Posse Review, 3 A.M. Magazine, Tough Times Companion, a publication of The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, Her Circle Ezine, Frigg, Meow Poetry, Journey anthology and Velvet Avalanche, an anthology of erotic poetry. Her author interviews, articles, book reviews, and creative non-fiction pieces have appeared in The Pedestal Magazine, Whole Life Times, Spirit of Change, Hadassah Magazine, Eclectica and the anthologies Chocolate for A Woman’s Soul II and Cup of Comfort For Women. She is the author of four poetry chapbooks: A White Girl Lynching (Pudding House Publications, 2008), Cowboy Writes a Letter & Other Love Poems (Pudding House Publications, 2010), and The Wonder of It All (Alternating Current, 2011). I Am the Flame (Finishing Line Press) is forthcoming July 2012.