When I picture this, it is always a boy
walking out of the woods with a trout in his hands.
He carries it carefully; it is turning to stone,
the points of flame along its belly fading.
He pulled it from the stream thrashing,
its raptor mouth unsatisfied
by the taste of steel. He bent to gather it in,
the white of his body wavering in the stream.
At the moment of obligation
on a bank of pungent mint, he opened it
with his pen knife, discarding ravelled guts
the color of wet lead. Now
empty and pure and in his hands,
it is stiffening, and its eyes
have the look of an antique bronze
god who has died, as we all do, for hunger.
~ James Armstrong
From The Anglers of the Au Sable, we thank them for use permission.