Tuesday, February 1, 2022

The Dangerous Goldfish

It starts out small, as you’d expect
Anything to start out small—specks

Seeds, eggs, dots, even that compressed
Infinitesimal that next

Moment went bang with all the rest.
This goldfish was one of the best

Demonstrations you’d ever get
Of full-strength butterfly effect.

Some kid flung it, tiny and wet,
Little fish once the teacher’s pet,

Into a drainpipe running next
To a ditch near the school’s swing-set,

No good reason, to be a pest.
Later it showed up in the net

Of a man in a fishing vest,
As a meme on the internet.

It was catfish-sized. The man let
The fish go. It wasn’t done yet.

The next thing you know, it went west.
As it went, it grew. It impressed

Alligators, thwarted egrets,
And became such a huge success

Before long it could make a breast
Of the strongest currents, possessed

Whole watersheds, ate with such zest
Soon there were no other fish left.

Then it was too late to protest
The disaster born of dumb jest.

Consequences never forget
To outgrow every trap you set.

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