I told a whopper, a fib, a lie.
Slipped out of my mouth. It was slimy, sly.

Save me, it hissed. A secret must hide.
So I opened my bag and it slithered inside.

It fed in the dark, grew fat on my shame
as I carried it with me. It whispered my name.
My friend, it kept saying, there’s no need to frown.
But that load of my shoulder was dragging me down.

It wouldn’t stay still and it started to smell.
I stumbled and tripped on my words. I fell.

In horror, I watched as my lie tumbled out.
Down by my feet it lay, wriggling about.

A crowd gathered round. They let out a cry
It’s a lie. It’s a lie. It’s a lie. It’s a lie

It is. I admit it, I quietly replied.
And the lie took its last gasp, shrivelled and died.

© Rachel Rooney

from My Life as a Goldfish and other poems by Rachel Rooney