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The Learned Goose

by Jo Brandon

I told everyone at school I had an invisible fish.

I had my reasons and they had reason

to believe me.

 

Peering through the glass

they saw nothing at first

(did they expect much more?)

but held to the light you could almost see

a shimmer of fin, a flicker of scales.

 

They swished their fingers in

as if they were swiping cake batter

from Mammy’s mixing bowl –

 

as soon as they felt my invisible fish

curl around the least bendy of their knuckles

out came their fingers, quicker, smoother, shriller

than any dreams of Excalibur pulled from rock.

 

Tales went round about piranha-type bites and

emergency skin grafts. Nobody played Chicken anymore,

they all played Invisible Fish. I told them it was lucky

to drop a coin in, a pound was best I said.

 

My invisible fish was a star, no question;

won me popularity, mystique, infamy –

 

and it taught me the alchemy of friendship is very simple:

two leaves of gelatine, cold water, a dirty jam jar

produces the kind of gold you can really spend.

 

 

 

by Jo Brandon, from The Learned Goose (£8.99, £3.99 Kindle)

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