Out in the Pershimeri, near Little Lost River,
flows a quaint creek, just warm enough
for Black Mollies, Swordtails, Goldfish, Guppies,
swimming in and out of tangled moss
and creek stuff.How they all got there
is still a mystery.Someone said that people
who got tired of feeding them, cleaning the tank,
clandestinely sneaked up the dirt road,
dumped fish and all into the warm creek,
thinking their problems solved,and disappeared
among the sagebrush and home. For them,
their problems just hid among the greenery
of the creek, too scared to sense
they were now orphans
somewhere in the Pershimeri.
Somehow, my dad found out about the fish,
drove us there in the old white station wagon,
for miles, it seemed, on a tired dirt road.
At last, we arrived, the car too dusty to tell.
And there they were, swimming pretty
in the warm water, thinking perhaps
that we were their saviors.
We yanked out our sieves and cheese cloth
from the back of the wagon
and headed to the creek.
These fish were tricky.
They knew the intricacies
of the moss and stuff.
My mother was the best netter of the day.
We just watched as she ran pell mell
down the creek bank, yelling something
like, “I see a Black Mollie…ah, she’s beautiful!”
Laughing, we trotted downstream with our gallon pickle jars,
long since cleaned and modified for fish.
She scooped up a few of each species,
placed them gently in the jars, now full of creek water.
Tiring of the netting, we donned swimming togs,
swam in the pond, enclosed in what used to be a log cabin,
now sunken with no roof or two of the sides.
The water was warm, almost too warm, like a bath.
Soon, the dust washed off, we trudged back
to the car, climbed in, tired and then slept until home.
Once home, we stowed our new catch
into their new home, a gorgeous fish tank,
complete with filters and rocks and fish things.
As they swam, we pressed our noses to the tank,
wondered if they knew they were
no longer in the desert, now
just sitting our the wood table
in the kitchen; wondered if any of them
remembered their beginnings
before they homesteaded in the Pershimeri.