Miles, you were the best.
Despite your androgyny, we always thought of you as male,
And yet you came with a lifetime supply of sperm (and eggs!),
And continued to make babies in season and out,
No matter how we tried to eradicate each generation,
Still a few always slipped past our vigilance.
And you made more.
You were the happiest denizen of the tank.
The fish, who had always had names in the past,
Became these frightened and anonymous beings,
Hovering under the tank furniture, quivering,
While you frolicked, having pretty much the run of the place,
And move like a snail, you did not!
You leapt, raced across the pebbles,
Sucking up whatever tidbits your proboscis could find.
With all your weird tubes and appendages,
Your anatomy was baffling,
And yet, we could watch you for hours,
Well, minutes, at a time,
Your infinitely flexible body rounding horns,
And squeezing through cracks.
Your beautiful golden shell started decaying the moment you arrived,
But it didn’t bother you, and it didn’t bother us.
Most of your babies were black,
And we suspected that you’d been hanging round a lounge
On the other side of town,
But a few had at least a hint of your golden hue.
What a ham you were,
Climbing up to the top of the tank,
And gluing yourself to the lid,
Then dropping down like a base jumper,
Unafraid of the consequences.
A couple of times we thought you dead,
Your appendages all flopped out at awkward, unmoving angles,
And yet we left you to try again,
And there you’d be back moving, your usual old self.
Who could imagine someone of such a lowly order (Ampullarioidea)
Having such a definitive and rakish personality.
Miles, you were a star.