by Carol Thomas

She washes up and they perceive at once
that she cannot survive the arid air.
So they rig up a set of tubes that shunts
salt water past her gills and find a chair
for her to ride in. She is dressed in white
and afghans wrapped around her tail. They try
to teach her to speak English, read and write
but she ignores them. She prefers to lie
beside the fish pond in the park, her eyes
upon the carp in silent pools of green.
A government department sets up teams
who write her monthly checks, with which she buys
no groceries. Her scales have lost their sheen.
She stares at fish and dreams inhuman dreams.