That was the summer
the pet store would sell
a goldfish for a dime
then let us drop it
in the piranha tank.
The goldfish swam around
dumb and la-de-da,
fat as at turkey
about to be had,
and that piranha
just lay back
on his gravel
by the bubbling pirate chest
givin' nothin' away
until in a flash
of fin and mouth
the gold was gone.
My mother called it
an unChristian meanness
but I guess my father
thought it worth ten cents
to know where I was
at least for a while,
on a summer afternoon
and said, besides,
since when did every little thing
grow to be so interesting
to Mister Jesus Christ?

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