I can’t do a dog, so my son’s first pet at my house
is a goldfish he names Zippy. I decorate the glass lung
of our separation. In the kitchen, orange circles –
flamingo pink pea gravel lines the bowl. Fake ferns
and a treasure chest hide a bottom feeder, the dull sucker
keeps it clean. Zippy tends to die on Fridays.
The sucker lives forever, but doesn’t have a name.
Because my son is with me twice a week,
I run out to replace Zippies before his next visit.
Whenever one goes belly up, double fins whitened
at the ends, I do my best to match the latest fish,
pray my boy won’t notice. Before we sit for supper,
Noah always asks to visit his fish friend.
I sit him on the counter, How’s Daddy doing, Zippy?
On Zippy number four, Noah cries out Daddy, look!
Zippy has a black spot on his nose! I gaze through
the far side, over a pink stone carpet. Wow! Some things
can’t be explained, I answer: He must be growing up.
Robert Carr is the author of Amaranth, published in 2016 by Indolent Books and The Unbuttoned Eye, a full-length 2019 collection from 3: A Taos Press. Among other publications his poetry appears in the American Journal of Poetry, Massachusetts Review, Rattle, Shenandoah and Tar River Poetry. Robert is a poetry editor with Indolent Books and recently retired from a career as Deputy Director for the Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Additional information can be found at robertcarr.org