It is November, here. Towards
the back of my aunt’s property,
the pond isn’t yet solid; but
to be certain the only fish still
awake are the ones that eat
grease bubbles and water beetle
larvae. Held, now, in my gloved hand
is a white, sick-looking catfish.
It looks like a bleached carrot. It isn’t sick, it’s albino – but it looks sick.
My uncle knows him, says he was the
president of the pond (showing me the
pockmarks from prior catches). Today
he is not a lucky president. Slicing
into the fillet meat, the fish starts
gaping and ungaping his jaw,
gasping for air. Never mind the fact
that fish don’t have lungs
or the fact that the left half of his body is now on ice near the porch.
The fish gasps for air in the same way a drowning child does. He is both a fish
and not a fish. He is both a human
and not a human. He is trying to trick me,
to make me think he is my brother – hoping
I’ll throw him back into the water and let
him slowly wander back to his bottom
feeding grounds (the same grounds
doing the same things he has always
done - eating the poor - as if it wasn’t
already too late). We stare into each
other’s eyes and I do not believe
he is innocent. It is November and
today he is not a lucky president.
Jacob Yankey is a senior from Wilmington, NC studying Chemistry and minoring in Creative Writing with a focus in poetry. Following graduation, he has aspirations to become a trophy husband.