by Elizabeth Bishop
Lines 41-44 Summary
Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
They shifted a little, but not
to return my stare.
- The fish's eyes move (he's still alive), but not to look at the speaker who is studying him so carefully.
- It's not the competitive stare-off we originally suspected then, is it?
—It was more like the tipping
of an object toward the light.
- Again, Bishop is adjusting and perfecting what she said in the previous lines (that the eyes shifted). She wants us to know exactly what this moment is like.
- Bishop also momentarily has us consider the fish as an object, not a living thing. This isn't the first time she's done it, either. Remember the wallpaper?