Dead Fish and Memories

So, it’s happened again: an inlet off the Peconic Bay of Long Island is full of dead fish.

This is not the first time this has happened in living memory; when I was in high school, dead fish clogged a marina as well as small neighboring creek off the same bay, on the north fork rather than the south, in the tiny town of Aquebogue.

My bus snaked it’s way along Peconic Boulevard, up Meeting House Creek Road, turning on Overlook Drive before heading on to Hubbard — hugging these bodies of water that looked serene in the early hours I passed them. Every morning for more than a week the sun rose red and orange over these glittering corpses, the water flashing silver and white instead of blackblue.

The bunker were, according to local newspapers, likely scared into these smaller bodies of water by larger predators; probably bluefish. A similar prognosis was given to the more recent kill in Shinecock Canal.

Local municipalities had no idea what to do with the fish; initially, it was assumed that they’d be brought out into the larger body of water with the tides, no longer an issue; they lingered as if in defiance. While people argued about what to do with literally tons of deceased fish, I visited with them for mornings on end, silently looking on through my bus window.

Eventually, the decision was made. The fish weren’t going anywhere and something had to be done about it — they were starting to smell. A local farmer agreed to take them as fertilizer, and the town went about collecting them and dumping them next to his fields.

Unfortunately, it took some time for the fish to be turned into the earth and, unfortunately for a nearby development — of which many were and still are scarring the former farmlands and nature of my childhood, with their poorly built houses and ugly lawns — they spawned a new kind of life beyond the stench. Thousands, if not millions of flies arose in plague proportions from their corpses.

Classmates who lived nearby told me the flies plastered their houses, turning walls into black swarms. The buzz was, reportedly, deafening.

I feel this has some deeper allegorical meaning related to inaction, relating to current political happenings, relating to life and death and rebirth — but I’ll allow the reader to draw their own conclusions.