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The Dream Fish
by Julianne Carlile

My grandmother used to take us fishing.
Feet dangling from the pier,
she'd bait our hooks and
take the fish off.
Most too small to keep,
she'd throw them back.
Sometimes, we'd get one we could take home.
Once in a while we'd catch a crab.
They were tenacious and hard to get off,
despite our shaking,
and Grandma was often put to work there too.

Years later I had a dream of that shore:
I'd waded in, hands in the water,
reaching for a great big fish.
There were other ones swimming nearby
but they were dull, smaller, ordinary. I didn't want them.
The fish I wanted was beautiful,
all the colors of the rainbow and more;
it seemed to shine with gold and silver, a
preternatural light.
No matter how hard I tried,
I could not grab that fish.

Long after I awoke, the dream stayed with me.
I couldn't catch it,
and I couldn't let it go.


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