• Lover's Eye Press

Two Poems by Trista Edwards

Blessed Invention

For Shirley


You hand me

another white plate,


last from the rack,

and say, There. Ready


once more for our offering.

What you mean is


the dishwasher’s

empty


but what I hear is,

This machine


is an altar.

We feed it


our daily crumb

and it licks clean


our sullied relics.

What did we do


before this?

In the time before


holy modernization?

This machine


is meant to receive—

to perform


the tremendous burden

of devotion.


The chore of baptism.

Our small child


hands me a cartooned

plate, blotched


in ketchup then wails

and runs away.



What I hear is

Here, Mother,


a jewel for the goddess.

Will you place it


for me in the hollow

cathedral of her belly?

 

Japanese Aquarium Urges Public to Video-chat Eels Who are Forgetting Humans Exist


The aquarium has been closed since March. It’s summer

and the eels are forgetting. Used to being confronted

by infinite parades of human eyes, eels now burrow

in the sand of their imitation sea floor as their keepers,

those left, shuffle past glass. Their eyes, floating above

surgical masks or behind a shield of plastic, are not enough.


When my son is five months old, my mother buys us both

a Facebook Portal. Distance and contagion allow no other way

to honor each other’s gaze. When we speak, she refers to herself

as Grandma in the box. She has met the baby only once in person.


I think of the eels while we chat from our perspective kitchens.

Aquarists place an urgent request through the aquarium’s

Twitter: Could you show your face to our garden eels from your home?

To help reconnect with humanity, five tablets are arranged

facing the tanks of over 300 eels. Virtual visitors are encouraged

to smile, wave, and converse with the fish but requested to not raise

their voices. The eels, they say, are naturally bashful.

The event is named a “face showing festival.” A hashtag is started:

#PleaseRememberHumans. My mother thinks the baby is an eel.


People tell me Well at least the baby won’t remember these times,

referring to, of course, the days turned months turned years

a virus kept us burrowing. People are obsessed

with babies remembering or not remembering. The message

I receive in my son’s first year of life is things are only worth doing

if remembered. Was it worth it, I wonder, to the eels?


Nobody holds the baby except me and his father

for an entire year. Our touch, the flickering warmth of our eyes,

is all he knows. This I will remember. When he cries,

I sometimes call Grandma in the box so she can soothe him with her voice

and make silly sounds. Often his curiosity falls elsewhere.

He does not regard the small virtual aquarium of her voice

and burrows deeper into my chest. Grandma in the box calls his name

louder, quicker. I remind her that babies, they say, are naturally bashful.

 

Trista Edwards is the author of Spectral Evidence (April Gloaming Press, 2020). She practices hearthcraft at MARVEL + MOON (www.marvelandmoon.com) and you can read more of her poetry at www.tristaedwards.com. She lives in Denton, Texas with her husband, son, and their two pups.

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