By Allen Morris Jones
“This big, I swear. Took me
into my backing then some.
Head on one side of the net,
tail drooping over the other.
Salmonfly a midge in those jaws.
The fish would have its own story
but this is mine. How I saw it,
the shape of it, finning dim down
among the boulders, the outline,
how it rose, tilting slow and solid
toward the surface, how I set
the hook and let it run before
wrestling it back. The fish
would say it was duped, fooled,
jerked away from the calm
meditation of its days only
to gasp in this cruel, alien light.
I suppose beauty depends
on whether or not you’re the one
holding the rod. I brought
the fish to hand, considered
its jaded eye, this slice of river
manifested to muscle, mused
on the heartbreak of a dream
realized too soon, then let it slip
back to the depths. The river,
the clouds, the fly floating past;
everything we want, everything
we’ve missed. Friends, you don’t go
fishing for the fish.
Still, sumbitch was this big.”
About the Author
Allen Morris Jones is author of three novels, a children's book, and a well-regarded look at the ethics of hunting. He lives in Bozeman with his wife and young son.