NOTICE: You are currently viewing an ARCHIVED version of the Waccamaw. Visit the redesigned site.

The Flashlight Fish

                                    Joey Nicoletti

or George, as I called him, stood out
like a Green Lantern decoder ring
on TV, with glands that glowed
just below each eye. I watched him
enter a watery room
with a shy smile. He blinked
for his next meal
in the shadow of a Caribbean night.
What I liked best about George
was how comfortable he was in his own skin;
how willing he was to share himself with others,
unlike me, having rejected
John Kingman’s invitation
to dinner at his house
because he kissed me on the mouth
underneath the monkey bars
earlier in the day. I saw George and a school
of his brothers and sisters
assist a ship through a coral reef passage,
twisting and turning a crew of hired hands to safety.
Then my thoughts washed up on the surface:
I imagined my father,
driving home from the bus depot
after another graveyard shift of picking
passengers up and dropping them off
throughout the city; his back and legs sore,
our house looming in the headlights
as he pulled into the driveway,
moonlight oozing into the nights of his hands.

Copyright 2017 Waccamaw. All reprint rights reserved by authors.