Fisherman at the Bar

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.