The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Tuesday and National Aquarium

By Naomi Shihab Nye

The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
watching him from the birdhouse.

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

The idea you carry close to your bosom
is famous to your bosom.

The boot is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe,
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

I want to be famous to shuffling men
who smile while crossing streets,
sticky children in grocery lines,
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it could do.


It was a quiet Monday of laundry and other unexciting chores -- the most time-consuming of which being the great seasonal closet switch, in which the winter clothes stashed at the back get moved to the front and the summer clothes get stashed to the back. I always end up having to re-order the transitional seasonal stuff -- the long-sleeved but not particularly warm blouses and the lighter denim -- and then I start trying things on to see if they still fit and if I still like them, and sending the rejects down the basement for VVA, so this always ends up taking more time than I think it will. Going down the basement at this time of year also invariably means fighting off cave crickets; by "fighting," I mean that they jump six feet in the air, then I scream and go get a container to throw them outside, by which time they have hidden in some dark corner where I can't get to them and neither can the cats.

I think I am going to review the upcoming Kate Mosse book for the Green Man Review, so I spent some time reading Sepulchre, her previous one, which I keep reading in fits and starts to draw it out...there aren't a lot of decent mysteries that combine Magdalene conspiracies, the Cathars, Debussy, the Carcassonne region, and Tarot cards, and though this one suffers from an excess of exposition, it's still a lot of fun with strong female characters. Since my Trek reviewing schedule is all messed up because of Thanksgiving, I watched a terrible horrible Next Gen episode, "Genesis," with my kids laughing throughout (the only good part is that it's the one where Spot has kittens, even though Spot is an iguana at the time). Then we watched the Chargers creaming the Broncos, though I have very little invested in either team so I couldn't get worked up about it!

A girl watches a dolphin approach the viewing area at the National Aquarium on Sunday.

A small black-and-yellow eel peers from around rocks in its exhibit.

A nurse shark rests on the bottom of the large circular shark tank.

Divers enter the central exhibit to feed the sea turtle, rays, and smaller sharks. (Adam took one too.)

The Australia exhibit has many birds flying and roosting overhead...

...and crocodiles and turtles in the large tanks circling the exhibit.

The jellyfish exhibit focuses on how there are too many jellies in the water because of pollution and overfishing, but also has many elegant representatives.

We saw this ray with a twisted tail both from above, looking down into the tank, and from below, at the windows into the deep water.

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