He releases with a thud
onto the muddy bank
and shows his toothless might
as like a chameleon he eats the air
in defiance of the hook he willingly swallowed,
his bright yellow wrinkles juxtaposed
against the deep green fortress
sprinkled lightly with bold red outlines,
the colorful gifts of a loving creator,
but now, in the midst of this encounter
it is hate in his melodramatic snaps,
for he is a pond slider and has only
the illusion of pain just as he was only
the illusion of a fish, and now he reverses
the evolutionary process by crawling back into the safety
of Cibolo Creek and away from our surprised and doting eyes.


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