On the road to Kingston, NY, the other day
I was happy to see that the rains had returned
And that the drought was ending.

I stopped to do a little fishing along the way,
And it reminded me of a fish
I’d caught during the dry season.

I’ll tell you about it now.
It took me awhile to get over it.

It was so dry that I could walk
Across the reservoir and the creeks.
The water was shallow due to the drought,
And most of the fish were swimming sideways
So they could stay under water.

Then I saw a rather amazing sight:
One fish was leaping from puddle to puddle,
Sometimes crawling across the dry land in between.

I threw away my fishing pole
And caught this fish with my bare hands,
Thinking of the delicious fish fry dinner
That I would have that night.

I put the fish in a bucket of water
In the front seat of my car
To keep it fresh during the long drive home.

Every so often that fish would poke its head
Out of the water bucket and look at me,
Sometimes even trying to jump out.

Finally, it did get out of the bucket
And sat on the seat next to me.
It was then that I realized that
I could never eat this fish.

About the same time, a brilliant idea stuck me:
I would train this fish to live out of water,
And make a pet out of it,
As the fish seemed to already
Have inclinations in that direction.

At home I put the fish in a barrel of water,
And sure enough, it tried to jump out.
So, each morning I would take it out
And put it on the grass,
Which was still wet from the dew.

Then, when I could see that it had had enough,
I would put it back in the barrel.
Each day the fish seemed to last longer and longer
Outside the water barrel before getting listless.

After a few months of this,
The fish didn’t need much water at all;
As I walked along the road in the morning,
It would wriggle along beside me
In the wet grass in the shade.

Later, when the day became really hot,
I would give the fish a drink from my water jug.

After a few more months of training,
The fish was able to flop and sort of ‘swim’ along
Down the middle of dusty roads.
And when I offered it a drink, it refused!

We even went to the beach together;
Of course; only I went swimming—
The fish just laid on the sand, getting a tan
And enjoying the breeze.

One day it was over 120 degrees
And the fish just had to have a drink,
So I gave it a dry beer.

Other than that,
The fish never touched water anymore,
Having become a land animal.

What a lovable pet!
It slept with me, saw movies with me,
Went out to parties with me,
Chased down tennis balls
And brought them back to me,
Rode on the back of my bike, etc.,
We were inseparable!

But then a tragedy happened:
We were walking down the road together one day,
And passing over an old bridge;
Suddenly my fish fell between some loose boards
And on down into the creek below and drowned.