Black Petals Issue #96, Summer, 2021

Giant Goldfish
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Painting Light-Poem by Mike Collins
Dark Waltz-Poem by Marilyn Lou Berry
The Last Victim of Vlad the Impaler-Poem by Mehmet Akgonul
The Bravest Ant-Poem by Mehmet Akgonul
Ain't Alien Spores-Poem by Richard Stevenson
Giant Goldfish-Poem by Richard Stevenson
Igopogo-Poem by Richard Stevenson
Megamouth Has Cavities-Poem by Richard Stevenson

Giant Goldfish

 

Richard Stevenson

 

Angler Raphael Bragini

claims he caught a thirty-pound

orange koi carp on a fishing

trip in France.  Others claim

the biggest specimen caught in France

weighed an amazing ninety pounds!

 

Technically possible, if the fish

grew up in a big lake with

lots of nutrients and no predators.

You’d need an aquarium the size

of a house for a thirty-pounder though.

Doubt they make glass thick enough.

 

Imagine Raphael’s surprise when he

managed to drag his thirty-pounder

aboard his little boat.  He had

a friend take a picture, then released it.

Local fishermen had tried to catch

that fabled fish for six years!

 

Raphael must have single-handedly

boosted the tourism industry in France –

fishing that lake in the south anyway.

Imagine he could afford a huge aquarium.

What would he feed his colossal fish?

He’d need a forty-five-gallon drum of food –

 

Probably every couple of weeks!

And where would he buy a can that size?

And a what colossal price?  Impossible!

Of course, he could have faked the photo –

was certainly accused of that,

though no one so far has proven the claim.

 

Of course, he could have donated the fish

to some French zoo.  Or raised funds

for food by allowing kids to ride it

around a swimming pool – if he had one.

Maybe just for a little while –

before the chlorine killed him maybe.

 

Or he could have cut it into

fish steaks; deep-fried huge chunks

for weeks – assuming goldfish is

not too gamey at whatever age the fish

had attained at that point.  Imagine!

All you could eat at some fancy restaurant.

 

Nope.  He let it go; thought the photo

would be enough evidence that such

a giant goldfish lives – in southern France

in an undisclosed southern lake anyway.

Dumped it overboard; watched the locals grin

at their renewed chance of riches and fame.

 

A giant goldfish.  Should have saddled

it up for as spin around the lake.

Tied buoys to it so it couldn’t dive,

but that would have been cruel, and Raphael

didn’t have the stomach for that. Couldn’t

get it home alive anyway.  Would have been pinched.

 

Fined an enormous sum, just for being the guy

that managed to catch the fish and settle the question

of its existence.  No, throwing it back had been

the better part of valour.  He still got the collar

and the picture created a huge stir in the media.

Made believers and doubters that debate to this day.

 

Giant Goldfish!  Thirty pounds or ninety –

enough to sink more than a few bobbers anyway,

and measure happiness in fisherman inches

for another six years.  Let the computer geeks

look for fissures in the fish story, prove the photo fake.

Let the foam in beer drinkers’ moustaches twitch a bit.

 

*

Richard Stevenson retired after a thirty-year teaching stint at Lethbridge College and now lives in Nanaimo, BC.  Forthcoming books include a trilogy, Cryptid Shindig, from Hidden Brook Press ( including the volumes If a Dolphin Had Digits, Nightcrawlers, and Radioactive Frogs); a standalone collection, An Abominable Swamp Slob Named Bob, from Altered Reality Press; and collection of haikai and lyric poems for younger kids, Action Dachshund! (from Ekstasis Editions).  He’s hoping to put another edition of his poetry/rock troupe, Sasquatch, together when Covid takes a bow and we can have live music again.

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