One of the world’s rarest fish is a little less rare than we thought

—NPR, January 26, 2018


Not every fish is countable. The unquantifiable
shimmers and shakes. Our mobile incompetence
woos us, taunts. How could we not see by now?
We keep searching for a word to describe
miscounted fish. Like failure or fix. Fate
seeking synonym for an ocean. But finding
only the same patterns we hope will be kind,
this time. We mistake a lack of evidence
as evidence to the contrary. Nothing
is so convincing as an answer. We forgive
indiscretion, claiming errant data. We repeat.
Recount. This happens with fish.
Saltwater dries crystalline and mysterious—
we begin innocent, again. Looking at idle flicks
of algae, as if expecting truth to appear,
dependable like a number. And there: the fish
we missed. How ordinary. How rare.
Those silly yellow hands.