Ayden Henson / Falmouth High School, Falmouth, ME

English Teachers: Julie Blodgett and Suzanne Langlois


Fish

I walk to the lake’s edge on a path of pine needles.

The afternoon sun has spilled like a yolk,
Soaking the exposed rock ridges that rise from each side of the lake in an orange glow.
In calmness the lake is a mirror, only disturbed by the small ripples of fish rising.

The reel ticks out as it flies over the lake, poking a

Hole in the continuous sheet of water.
Ripples vibrate through the fiberglass as quick little fish poke at the lure, wavering beneath the
subtle movement of water,
But the rod goes silent.
Despairing, I try to jig life into the plastic, though
In the stillness I know she has seen through my lie.

But suddenly I feel a massive pull,

My body squeezes and yanks at my skin,
Muscles lurch as adrenaline rushes all the way to my feet.
I pull back and spin the rod in anticipation of drawing out the beast.
The fish’s thrashes throw me into an aggressive stance.
The fish’s extreme mass is evident.
My pole bends when I lean against the fish as
Spring force slowly overtakes thick woven muscle.

When I finally pull the fish out of the water it

Captivates my gaze.
The cool silver and green skin reflects wonderful light,
Slick and dripping with lacquer.
I sit there holding its body up from the line,
Awed by the miraculous engineering that generated this wonderful machine-
But it is something more than that.
I am drawn to look directly into its eye
The piercing perfection belittles me.
The exactly round glass sphere dotted with
A pupil vast and black as space.
The world falls out of view as the stare consumes my vision.
It exposes me and excises my violent, childish spirit.
I wilt under its all knowing judgment,
But the last confused gasp has already come out the fish’s ancient jaw.

Its body has wilted, muscle fibers loosen until I merely hold a piece of flesh.

Scales begin to dull and flake, fouling my hands with an odor no soap will clean.
The fish’s eye has not moved nor blinked yet its wildness has dissipated
Perhaps through the very blood leaking from her gills.
The blood escapes between my clenching fingers,
Twisting down my forearm until it drops from my elbow and
Returns to the sea.