The Electorate by Jacob Yankey

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.

© 2023 by Cellar Door. 

To contact our staff directly, please email thecellardoor.unc@gmail.com, or each editor individually at cellardoorfiction@gmail.com, cellardoorart@gmail.com, and cellardoorpoetry@gmail.com.