I had two goldfish when I was kid

For a while, they lived with my

Turtle, they were originally part

Of this school of fish we gotPo

For my turtle to eat but the

Resulting carnage was such

A mess that we never did it


For some reason, Filburt ate

All but two of the goldfish,

And they grew in size

Until they were nearly

As big as Filbert

I named them Dotty

And John for the strange

Black spots they had

All over their bodies —

John had a stripe across

His upper lip that looked

Like a mustache, so i

Named him john after

John astin, the guy who

Played gomez Addams

On the old tv show

Dotty died first, and I’m

Pretty sure I woke up

And found her one

Morning and flushed


But John lived for

Awhile longer, and

I remember the night

He died

He was limp in the tank

Floating around with his

Body crooked into a C

Shape, and every now

And then he would

Thrash and thrash

Raging against the

Dying of the light

It was as if he was

Falling asleep and

Struggling to stay


I heard him struggling

To keep the life flowing

Through him, but it was

Time and I found him

The next morning

Later on in life, I was

Working for hospice and

I met this woman north

Of Utica named Joyce

Robinson, and she lived

In a trailer park and the

First time I delivered to

Her I ended up staying

A good half hour chatting

With her on her front porch

Nice old lady, very plain-

Spoken, talked about her

Son a lot

I kept bringing her stuff

Over the course of the

Next month, and I remember

One time towards the end

She was lying in bed and

She kept waking up, starting

Awake like she was waking

From a startling dream, her

Mouth would fly open and

She’d gasp and her arms

Would fly up like she was

Trying to grasp at something

Like she was trying to swim

And that was the last time

I saw her — the pick-up

Papers were on my to-do

Pile only a day or so later

Everything is a work in progress.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store