Something Fishy

by Michael Dylan Welch, C. R. Manley, and Tanya McDonald

 

First published in Rattle 30:1, Spring 2024, page 59 (prose on page 95). Originally written in October of 2010, mostly on the ferry between Edmonds and Kingston, Washington. To be featured on the Rattle website, with an audio recording, on 12 April 2024.       +

 

 

salmon time—

the path to the creek

free of cobwebs Michael

 

he warns us again—

don’t eat the pufferfish Curtis

 

field trip—

the cold stare

of the passing shark Tanya

 

the guppy circling

down the toilet Michael

 

motionless angelfish—

still waiting

for my order Curtis

 

one fish, two fish

I switch off her bedside lamp Tanya

 


“Something Fishy” is a rengay we wrote mostly on the ferry between Edmonds and Kingston, Washington. Fish seemed like a natural theme to write about while we crossed the Puget Sound. Michael wrote the first rengay with Garry Gay, its inventor, in 1992, and he’s been promoting the form ever since, with essays and his website, www.rengay.com. Renku always links and shifts between the verses as it seeks to taste all of life, but rengay deliberately focuses on a single theme, which we had fun exploring in various fishy nuances.