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Renee Podunovich

Piscine Vision

Elm Street. School yard. Play ground
looks like Alcatraz all cement and gravel
all chain link fencing
kids out for recess
surrounded by the appearances of a quaint neighborhood
with coiffured shrubs and bushes
and infiltrator grass that steals water
from the native plants
draining reservoirs and river veins
spectrum of cars shiny and lined up parked just right
against numb houses whose geometric vision
does not venture beyond the quadrilateral nature
of a square.
I catch a glimpse of them
two children on the "inside"
where fence meets gray concrete called sidewalk
and gray meets blacktop called Elm
and the boy’s hands are encircling the girl’s neck
her face all unpontificated horror
mouth ovalled into a scream
that I can not hear from inside the vehicle.
Our eyes meet and lock
we have piscine vision, that’s right
fish eyes
able to perceive the deflection of polarized light
as it bounces away from objects
even as that light travels through the murk of water
through tiny one celled things,
sand and other maritime floaters.
She is looking towards the opposite
side of the Ocean Elm Street
something is over there
perhaps her beginnings
perhaps relatives that took a different genetic route.
In the surreal waters of survival
it is not as though she is a she
no, rather much more like a genderless bubble
containing and exiling air alternately
becoming full, then empty, then full
a cryptic balloon that is sustained and held gently
by the pressure of its aqueous mother
brushed and grabbed
by the tendrils of competitor species

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