Lazy Sunday afternoon
We stretched reptilian on the rocks
And bore witness as two fish escaped from the boy.
The third rose thrashing from the river
And when the line swung close
His heavy boot with rounded toe and tassel
Met it in the air.
The noise from me
Was pressed into my shirt
So he would not hear.
Because I could not decide if laughing was the appropriate response
To the kicking of a fish.
“Issa Peckerel,” the boy called from across the slow water,
“I ain’t doin’ it justa be mean. It’ll eat up allyer good fish.
Got a nasty mouthful of teeth too.”
the fish slid
slightly wiggling into the reedy grass
and was stomped hard
Before it soared through the air
To meet that heavy boot.
I buried my face
As the children scrambled to see where the fish had gone
Dead fish float
This fish sank
White blur beneath the current
I have never seen anyone drop kick a fish.
And I, in my laughing ignorance
Am torn between the justice of an animal
And the wisdom of the mountain people
Who very well may be saving the waters