we had goldfish and they circled around and around in the bowl on the table near the heavy drapes covering the picture window and my mother, always smiling, wanting us all to be happy, told me, 'be happy Henry!' and she was right: it's better to be happy if you can but my father continued to beat her and me several times a week while raging inside his 6-foot-two frame because he couldn't understand what was attacking him from within.
my mother, poor fish, wanting to be happy, beaten two or three times a week, telling me to be happy: 'Henry, smile! why don't you ever smile?'
and then she would smile, to show me how, and it was the saddest smile I ever saw
one day the goldfish died, all five of them, they floated on the water, on their sides, their eyes still open, and when my father got home he threw them to the cat there on the kitchen floor and we watched as my mother smiled