for Olivia

By Leigh Vandebogart


when i was twelve, my best friend was

pool-faced with thick long black hair,

swinging arms and legs and a giggle

like mine.


her house was my house

you know, that kind of best friend -

but we were not the reflection

of each other.

please, don’t think that.


the following year she would move

to another town not so far away, but very far

when you’re thirteen and your mom is

“busy i am too busy to drive out there leigh.”


but i did not know that she would move then,

and neither did she, and eventually

i forgot what she looked like,

because your memory is not very good at that age,

it’s a fact.


but this is not the point, who cares

if my best friend moved away and then i got

another best friend, like a minor leaguer,

called up as a back up. this is about

her room, on the 2nd floor of her house,

with a loft bed and a desk underneath,

which i thought was just the coolest thing ever.


on this desk, under her bed, in a space

dark as a little cave, was a fish bowl -

or maybe it was square, maybe it was a fish tank -

but the significance of this is not

the shape of the glass,

but the fish

inside.


the fish inside, in its water, its home

the small square glass case

in the small dark square cave on the 2nd floor

of my best friend’s house.

the fish inside, in my hand.


one afternoon i reached in,

grabbed its tiny golfish body

and pulled it out, watched it flip

smart and shiny and orange in my palm.

i watched its gills, its head, its yes,

it’s weird fish, and

its tail, this small spot of orange

in my little hand,

i stared down at him and he stared back.


i don’t remember the fish’s name

but i do remember hers,

and a year later

she moved.

 


Leigh Vandebogart is a recent Brooklyn transplant, by way of Albany, NY. She is currently a special education teacher at a middle school in Queens, NY, and just finished her first year teaching sixth grade. When she isn't in front of a class and wrangling twelve-year-olds, she pets and looks at her cats, writes poems, walks around Brooklyn, and drinks beverages of all sorts. She's had poems published in Other: ______, an Albany poetry publication, and in a chapbook through FootHills Publishing entitled liquid starlight and nonsense, even though she prefers you ignore that exists entirely.

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