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Group Three

71 Oyster

72 Penguin

73 Quail

74 Raccoon

75 Rat flea

76 Rooster

77 Salmon

78 Seagull

79 Slug

80 Snail

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My name is Sam and I'm a saltaholic!
Thou art the "Higher Power" I acclaim!
I turn from eight years' boozing in this ocean
Back to freshwater streams from which I came.

        My salty life has been insane to manage,
        So I will take the Twelve Steps to improve:
        Down with the life of salt and self indulgence!
        Up with the Peace no force on earth can move!

Now is the time to spawn high in a river,
Leaving behind each broken pledge and wish,
Making a list of everyone I've injured
During my years of drinking like a fish.

        Now is the time to make my reparations,
        Finding a mentor who can guide my way,
        Trusting in friends who also fight addictions:
        Salt-free for one more hour! then one more day!

No more life in the fast lane of the Gulf Stream
Where I would race at twenty five an hour,
Finally it's time to get my life together,
Looking for courage from Thee, Higher Power!

        Maybe before I make this holy journey
        I can give help to some lost, hopeless fish
        Who will put saltaholism behind him
        With my encouragement and prayerful wish.

Though I've grown five feet long, an 80 pounder,
These final days will be my very best,
Climbing high waterfalls, past bears and rapids --
There to give life -- then lay my own to rest.

from the forthcoming book Prayers of 100 Animals A to Z, by William Cleary



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