Falling leaves of deep yellows, reds

and varying shades of earthy oranges

gather around my legs like chickens

at feeding time until finally they're full

and slowly drift away towards the center

where they're caught up in the rapid

current and swept away down river

as I cast my fly into circling pools

of slower moving water hoping

to sink my hook into a rainbow


After an hour I feel the jerk

of the line and instinctively

tug hard in order to set the hook

correctly as you begin fighting me

the entire way to the surface


In my hand I can see the damage

dripping from the corner of your mouth

as I wrench it open to take a closer look


You've swallowed the hook deep

impossible to dislodge I cut the line

hoping for the best as I gently release

you back into the river where you turn

onto your side and begin floating

back up to the top trying to stabilize

yourself until your body bobs half out

glistening in the early morning sun


I grab you and begin pushing

you back down into the water trying

to rush oxygen over your gills

wanting to keep you alive long enough

for you to swim back to your home

among the rocks at the bottom of the river


But you keep returning to the surface

and I continue pushing you back down


Some time later shivering in the cold

I look down at my numb hand

and realize you're dead and let go

watching you make your way out

to the center and into the current

floating away with the leaves


I turn to look for the footpath

that will take me back home

and start walking leaving everything

I brought at the foot of the riverbank








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