Love for our neighbor, being made of creative attention,
is analogous to genius.
My father, in fluorescent light, transfixed,down to his waiting fish. For years he's mixed
sits sometimes for hours, silent, downstairs
to watch as, black-red, the bloodworms helix
the frozen cubes with lukewarm water, stared
still as stone in fluorescent light, transfixed. "This is how you care for something," he lisps:
"Clean the water. Check the pH strips. Clear
the foggy glass. Watch the cold-red helix descend, bloom in the cichlid's mouth." The trick,
my father taught, is consistency paired
with a cool touch, his fluorescent lights transfixed on the anubias leaves, the anacharis.
For years the cichlids, tetras, barbs have shared
these tanks downstairs, & each evening helix around the columnred, dancinghe drips,
precise as Edward Hopper mixing paints.
Father, in this light, fluorescent, transfixed,
I watch as you watch your bloodworms helix.