Phantom Fish

The ghost of a goldfish
its small body
to our mistaken care,
was placed in a jar
on the mantel
until we could get to it,
the bitter task of
tossing it into the lagoon,
a dead, diseased fish
to possibly infect, kill
other fish —
another mistake.
So many compound errors
when we intended only care,
at least a measure of love.
And now the lagoon is to be
all the fish killed
and others put in —
bass, maybe, or sunfish,
I don’t know. But I do know
it won’t be carp or koi, or
a whole neighborhood’s cast-off
goldfish, the living and the dead.
Somehow, this too, feels like
a failure,
as if our goldfish is
no longer welcome there,
in the resting place we chose,
not even in phantom form,
the remembering bones
of other fish.


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