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all of her goldfish died

she bought one each day

at the exotic pet shop filled

with fish who eat fish

she put the stranger in a bowl

watched it swim around

went to class

came back finding the fish

floating motionless at the top

dead each day

so she gave up fish for plants

placed in her window

they reached for the sun gracefully

willing and as if pulled madly

trembled, withered, wandered toward death

as if strangled by some invisible

plant canceler

oblivious to all this

she grasped my trusting hand and

led me to her dormitory bed

and in the morning

wondered why

i hadn't died.

-- douglas brent smith 


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