Favorite Poems: The Goldfish Floats to the Top of Its Life

“The Goldfish Floats to the Top of His Life” by Ted Kooser is about men working for “great companies” and feeling like they get nothing in return. The author sets up the frustration early in the poem with an image of a dead fish paired with diction that clearly signifies that workers mean little to corporations. He then moves to “their wives finding them slumped in the shower, their hearts blown open like boiler doors.” Kooser ends with such men back at their desks, preferring “to have died in their sleep.”

“Goldfish” speaks to me because that’s often how I feel, and I think many people — not just men, either — feel about their careers. The poem can be found in Kooser’s “Sure Signs” collection.

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~ by ericedits on December 16, 2007.

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