"Carnival Goldfish Boy" by Maria Masington Winner of the Dover Poetry Weekend's Ekphrastic Contest

Carnival Goldfish Boy

after Every Beginning by N. Taylor Collins

We had the requisite pet parade,

gerbils, hamsters, hermit crabs,

moving from shell to shell,

their naked forms, pale mutant

spiders, like my son, searching to fit in.

I wanted a carnival goldfish boy,

that lives longer and stronger

than anyone could have imagined


despite the odds, content to swim

in the little bowl, not the outlier

always trying to contort himself

into normal people’s emotional ponds.

I was unprepared for a toddler correcting

my observation that the “fluffy” cloud,

was actually cumulus,

who read A Wrinkle in Time

in kindergarten and could do algebra

before he could ride a