Reflections on the life of a brook trout

It’s my night for dishes
so everyone has left the kitchen.
There on the cutting board
the head of a brook trout
we had for supper. A brookie
to the kids who caught it.
I look at the face, the dour fish face
with its flat eye. At the table
we talked about eating animals.
The children won’t eat venison —
Deer are spiritual. Trout
are a dime a dozen.
I know what they mean,
but while I ate I kept thinking
about the fish, its lifetime
in the lake, how it travelled
all day through layers of color
down into shadowed zones of boulders
and sunken logs. About
its being drawn to sunlight
polishing the water’s surface, brilliant,
a fish’s heaven.
Holding its body perfectly still
in a cold current feeding the lake,
watching with those eyes that never close,
how like a god it must have felt
in that sliver of flesh
which was its heart.

winter2018-poem

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2018 issue of Anglers Journal magazine.

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