Lake Heavy with Fish

by Virginia Dare Cox

We paddled the boat
through dark water, fish

bloomed up around us
in eddies, circling in whirlpools

our modest vessel.
We cast out lines with baited

hooks waiting, spread out
small nets, reeling in the sharp

cold bodies which
sometimes slipped through

my fingers before I could look
at them and wonder what swaying

fans and grasses they saw
at the bottom of the black caldera

lake. My brother taught me
how to hack off the heads,

pulling the skeleton out
of its meat and skin cushion.

He taught me these things,
but he did not teach me

how to swim when the boat tips,
how to pull out a hook from my palm.

VIRGINIA DARE COX resides in Fredericksburg, Virginia where she works as literary editor for Whurk Magazine. She has recently received her BA from the University of Mary Washington.