My Boredom Has a Fish Mouth

Two poems by Jared Harél

My Boredom Has a Fish Mouth

The Perimeter

My excitement hurts, my daughter sulks
at Columcille Megalith Park, where stones stack
on stones upon a great big stone circling
the sun. It’s mid-July, muggy, and my excitement
hurts too, though somewhere along the line
I lost the right to say so. Or the nerve. Or the family
we’ve traveled with are too damn nice and who are we
to knock anyone’s excitement with glazed over
eyeballs, our disinterest in rocks? Instead I tug
my kid to a nearby pond where sorbet-colored koi
curl the perimeter. I once heard koi can live
for two centuries, and so imagine their excitement
must be hurting about now. Then suddenly,
amid the heat and koi and our friends snapping selfies
between some basic-looking archways, my daughter
starts singing. I mean really singing, at the top
of her lungs. All the trees seem to steady
in Bangor, Pennsylvania, until I can feel the soft arc
of our planet in orbit, and dark space like muscle
behind the sky’s blue face. And it’s true, experience
can be so peculiar—the way it rises like a fish
in still waters, its alien lips agape, gasping
at the air. And here I am, beside myself, gasping.

All This Gold

Do not confuse what is valuable with what is sought after — a fortune cookie fortune

Do not confuse public with pubic
like my comp student did
in her otherwise strong essay
which argued for
“more security cameras
in pubic spaces.” And do not confuse
allergic with addicted, like I did
soon after my throat swelled shut.
then displayed in the window
of my chain-wallet
till a baffled grocery clerk clued
me in. I am not above
confusing pity for affection,
affection for love. I’ve mixed impulse
and free will like gin and tonics—
mistaken my tolerance
for what others can’t bear. Oops,
I heard somewhere
should be the anthem
of our age. Oops, like a chorus
of misdirected rage over the pinging
bass line of an errant text.
Bless us. Or don’t. But rest assured
there is value in our hapless
seeking: in every trap door and aimless
detour and in the moment
before the moment
the solarium goes boom, a bridge
gives way, and the ground
far below looks like a painting
my son made and called—
“All this gold and then
a little bit of blue.”

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Thank You!