The Fish have Risen

for George


Just like that, the fish have risen; they have reached the surface of their element and now own it the way humans once owned land.

One fish has planted a tree on his part of the surface – although what fish call a tree is to us no more than an empty floating can – and he has made it his purpose to convince other fish to do the same. Agriculture is, it seems, an important aspect of progressive developments, even across species. Get in there quick! – the fish are not fools, they know there is only a limited amount of human garbage available, no matter how out-of-hand it may have seemed to the humans who made it.

Because they are only at the beginning of their exploitation of this new material, i.e. human waste, it may not seem so limited yet; but fish, unlike humans, have the ability to see the end of things superimposed upon their beginnings. Water dwellers see the entirety of things curled up into a timeless model where land dwellers see only straight lines vanishing toward the horizon.

Underneath their floating bellies, the seaweed waves like gently remembered hands.

The fish, not being fools, begin to team up; collectivity is natural to them. They don’t call their groupings ‘family’ the way humans used to, but like families they bond their instincts and senses in order to protect what they have dragged to the surface with them.

It no longer matters what humans used to call things, or who they were. They have left behind material to be used. This is what makes humans, in a sense, useful. But the fish have their own plans for the future.

They create string by holding just about any soppy material between two mouths and spinning their bodies around and around until the material has given in and twisted and lengthened into rope; then, they drag the string along the surface of the water where it stays afloat, exhausted.

What lies below the surface is so familiar, so well-known, that it has no appeal. What is new to the first is what lies above this frontier where water becomes air.

Air sits on top of water the way fresh water sits on top of salt water. Water water water. The fish are sick of it.

Now that all things but fish are gone, there is nothing left in the sky for them to fear. The surface is no longer a portal towards a world of danger: no more nets, no more ravenous birds, no more slicing, knocking, howling ships. All there is, is wide open potential.

The fish wrap their lips around the string and measure out their plots. One for you, one for you, one for you. At the beginning of all things, there are mathematics, and there is fairness in the way we share. Then, afterwards, things become muddled, and all of a sudden the string is full of knots.