Hippo In The Bathwater

Hippo In The Bathwater

My best friend,
for the first ten years of my life,
was a hippo.

Hippo was small enough
to fit inside a lunchbox.
He had eyes like black marbles,
and a small pink triangle of felt
for a tail.

We slept together at night.
With him cradled in my arms,
I dreamt of dinosaurs hiding in
the alleyway behind my house.
Hippo dreamed of rivers pink with blood
from the boats he capsized in his wrath.
Some nights I dreamt that I was drowning,
and when I woke I could feel him trembling
with excitement in my arms.

Sometimes I could see him
watching me in the bathtub.
I wondered what kept him
from giving in to his natural instincts
and trampling me underneath the bathwater…
He must love me, I thought to myself.
Surely it was love
that kept my head above water.

I know better now.

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