Mugwump by Richard Stevenson

Richard Stevenson

Lake Temiskaming, Ontario, is my home.
Don’t often surface, so you may not know me.
“Old Tessie” is one handle, but Mugwump?!

Really?! That’s such an insulting moniker.
Makes me feel like I don’t even swim,
just hang my head and butt over a log and bob.

Hey, I’m a thirty-foot white sturgeon
and those bumps you see emergin’
ain’t some lumpy lumpen lizard’s hide!

I’ve survived many of your meddling idiots,
even towed a few humans by their heavy test
fishing lines in circles around the lake.

Can’t say you’re not persistent in your search,
but do I have to let you scratch my belly
before you’re convinced I ain’t no plesiosaur,

basilosaurus, or lake serpent? Hey. I don’t even
mack on flesh, dude. I’m a bottom-dwelling
scum sucker. And you’ve gotta steal my eggs to boot?!

What’s wrong with you loud, obnoxious
gas-spewin’ ingrates? Eggs aren’t enough?
You gotta drag my carcass ashore too?

For what? So you can go goo goo over my size?
Take a tape measure to my snout and tail
just to determine I was hearty and hail?


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