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The Fish Bubble

by Boris Kokotov

“Because everything in their lives
is provisional, precarious, transitory...”
— Jose Saramago, Death with Interruptions

In the beginning — fish, then a bubble, finally the outside world — a projection.

Gradually one becomes aware: images in which the world presents itself are of limited variety.

Keep it under surveillance, brother. A moving picture, that's what it is.

Now tell me how anything could be built with a few fins and one fairy tail?

Read the book: it's all about rosy-fiction and sure-erection.

Concerning appearance, shouldn't water emerge first?

Some schools believe it must be food.

Sardine superstition! They call it food chain.

Whatever... Do you remember Alex?

No, I don't.

It's not you who I am asking.

Who else? Only two of us here.

I am asking the author.

What kind of fish is he?

He is not a fish.

A fisherman then?

A fictionman — he writes fiction.

Our bubble is not a fiction!

How would you know?

I got a gut feeling.

Only gut feeling I got is hunger.

Exactly: hunger ergo sum.

Yeah, Latin, glassic education.

Hey, upstairs, do you remember Alex?

The author cannot hear you.

Why? I can hear him typing.

Even if he heard you he would not understand.

I do not understand his typing either so we are even.

Who is Alex anyway?

His pet, a fish he kept in the bathtub for a few months. After the poor beast died he wrote a poem.

In memory of that fish?

Sort of. He read it to me. Mind to hear some excerpts?

Go ahead. Live poetry ought to be better than dead fish.


In the days of the Flood, desolate and stark,
Noah constructed his Ark
to rescue man and other creatures.
Perhaps the Ark had fancy features
for housing walrus, whale, and seal,
but fish altogether escaped the ordeal.


In an aquarium small fish swim.
What's on their mind? what is their dream?
Perhaps they're eager to see the sea,
perhaps it's time to set them free.
Are they tired of all our jazz?
Probably we should apologize.
Let all of them out, into Nile or pool!
Well, one fish says, just cut your bull!


I’m staring out beyond my bubble.
Disturbing view! Still water's clean and warm.
By staying in I'm staying out of trouble.
Still gotta go to dig myself a worm...

The Flood, what is it, brother?

The supernatural disaster, I guess. Luckily it did not spread to fish tanks.

The last line really struck me: “Gotta go dig myself...” That's brilliant!

I told you, he knows stuff!

I also like the notion that fish should be offered an apology.

Apologizing for everything is the rage of the day.

Why did he say, “Disturbing view beyond my bubble”? The view is gorgeous! Incidentally, who lives in those buildings?

Big Fish, I presume. They are expansive.

Copyright © 2013 by Boris Kokotov

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