Since I can’t have a dog
I got a fish
at the pet store downtown
on the corner,
the store that’s been there forever
or at least as long as I’ve lived here.
The same woman is in there
who was there when I used to go in
and browse through the dog sweaters
and Wally kept tropical fish in a big, big tank.
While she rang up the items
we piled on the counter –
gravel, a small plant, fish food
and of course Mr. Fish himself –
two small children
asked permission of their mother
to go look at the guinea pigs,
then ran past
the man who stopped in for some pig’s ears.
waiting in the car just outside,
refused to take note of us when we emerged,
so fixed was his gaze on the door
through which his owner had disappeared.
You’ve got to love that about dogs.
“Don’t forget to name your fish,”
the woman shopkeeper had said.
I’m naming him Benny.