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by Ana Pugatch
It was a clean catch—no games
this time. My uncle held down
the thrashing bass for us to see:
never had I beheld anything
so full of life. “She’s still a girl,”
he explained. “Young and small.
She might change into a boy fish
this year.” His grin turned into
a frown as he tightened
his hold; the sharp spines
of her headdress had cut open
his fingers. Her red gills pumped
furiously, her scales throwing off
the sun. She looked past us,
at nothing, her lips mutilated
from the pull. In a few moments
she’d be dead: flesh splayed,
her regal head tossed in the sand.
The greenheads would gather
on the saucers of her eyes—
they would eat with us that night.