Sunday, August 03, 2003

I Shoulda had a Sea Monkey

This afternoon about half past four or a quarter thereof
I had a moment of epiphany -
one of those eurekas when the universe makes a burp
and suddenly sense oozes through the membrane
and I knew what was missing,
the which I had been seeking through folly or desperation
for what has proven so far to be the rest of my life.

I never had a Sea Monkey.

I never saw a Sea Monkey.

I never knew personally, first hand, up close and tall, anyone who ever grew a Sea Monkey.

I never learned if they really came to life
when you added water
and if they swam
and if when you took them from the water
their tiny bodies wiggled with form and substance;
if you could squish them through your fingers
and feel the slimy life within,

and if they had a heartbeat.

I saw the advertisements in the back of treasured comics
promising to send inert and crystallized
a package of living creatures that would come to life
in a drinking glass on my kitchen table
with the addition pure and simple of ordinary water
from the tap.

It was Fantastic Four I liked the most,
collected for a while. Not the usual for a girl, I suppose,
but what is usual?
I was looking for a hero just like all the others.

I had been a Lulu Tubby fan, cutting dolls from old socks
drawing faces with colored crayons
sewing clothing to match the comic strip,
before moving right along to Archie and Veronica
and the blonde Betty who I never could tell was she his lover or his friend,
and I still can’t seem to get that right.

I try to make some sense of this
by putting things in order,
which would be easier if I had a momentous event

like the birth of Sea Monkeys

to mark the calendar, but instead I remember
this was after the honeysuckle oak tree sidewalk scene
and before the little sister came to be,

but on reflection was about the time of her father
with his baby soft skin that had no hair, he said,
because he was part Native American,
but was the fattest Indian with the whitest skin I had ever seen,
being only and most loosely familiar with Tonto from TV.

And that was long before he was shot in a barroom brawl.
Or so I heard.
And had to tell my little sister.

I think if I had used my babysitting money
to order some of those Sea Monkeys
all the other questions would be smaller to consider.

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