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Fall Fish
by Andrew Higgens

I've come for trout
but I'm not sure they're here.
It's early April and
the stocking trucks
go first to major
lakes and streams
and this small run
gets its fish last.
My hope's a holdover brown
but that's not likely.
It's mostly put and take
in a stream like this.
By late July
the heat and bait
have killed the trout
they stocked in spring.
More likely I'll catch fall fish,
silver, gaudy-scaled
eight-inch minnows.
Junk fish. Not fit
for sport nor meat.
Too bony to eat.
A guy once told me
how he'd pickle them.
A few months in vinegar
and their bones dissolve
leaving only flesh,
suddenly tender.
But now they hang
in the currents darting
cold and firm,
taking nymphs,
wild, hard, unaware
they're scorned.


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