Alan Toltzis (series)


They grew waddling fat—
orange and white globes
gliding through green waters
to feast on insects and algae,
flakes and pellets tossed into the pond,
their own eggs and fry.


Habit taught them greed
gulping at food’s satisfying promise
whenever I neared
sending shadows across the surface
that drew their pleading lips
into the alien air asking
more, more, more.


Where I saw thin and yellowing locust leaves
skittering through air like celebration,
they saw something that might be gorged upon—
swallow, spit, swallow again.

63.8 Degrees North

Earth angled into its inhospitable orbit
tilting farther from the sun
the water stiffened
as its molecules expanded, aligned, slowed,
crystallizing from the rocky edged shore
inward towards its core,
zeroing past zero.

Deep Winter

Locked below a thickening block of ice,
the fish
to wait, weightless
in watery space,
amid cold blankets of sludge and debris,
the rotten remnants of their waste,
time rotating forward all around them.

Alan Toltzis (, the author of 49 Aspects of Human Emotions and The Last Commandment, had a lovely goldfish pond once upon a time.