Derrell, the Fisherman

Hannah Donahue

The powerful roar of rushing 

water, hurried and violent. 

Glistening scales appear briefly 

above the rapids. 

Sunlight illuminates 

the magnificent creatures, 

plentiful yet contained in 

the untamed current. 

A torturous tease for 

the lone fisherman 

sitting hunched over 

on the riverbank. 

One hand on his 

growling gut, the other grips 

a heavily-worn wooden rod. 

He examines the hook, 

its bait once again 

stripped by the 

swift stream. 

The rod crashes to earth, its cry 

lost in a chaotic mess of 

vibrations, an audible battle 

in which it stood no chance. 

A hand now free, the man 

wipes his sodden brow before 

reaching into his jacket pocket. 

A tiny stone emerges. 

He handles the pebble 

with profound care, 

presumably aware of 

the extensive powers 

encapsulated within. 

He inspects the perfectly 

symmetrical stone which 

he reluctantly received from 

the hand of a fellow fisherman, 

whose voice still echoes 

long after that distant night— 

I only offer this to the desperate, 

as this should be your last resort 

if all else fails. 

His eyes now aimed ahead, he 

tosses the magical stone and 

watches the rushing river 

swallow it whole. 

A patient hour passes before 

the current eases. Wiping a tear 

before grabbing his rod, the man 

fishes until the night arrives. 

Just before his trek home, 

he pauses in the darkness. 

The serenading silence 

of the river, almost as sweet 

as the lingering taste of 

the once elusive fish. 

The fisherman returns 

just before dawn. A smile 

stretching from ear to ear, 

he hauls a fresh tub of bait. 

His eyes widen as the early 

morning rays reveal motionless 

green-tinted water, doing little 

to mask the sight of sickly fish 

slowly dying below the surface. 

His grin now gone, the fisherman 

slowly descends to his usual 

spot on the shore. Casting into 

the unrecognizable river, 

he examines the hook from afar, 

its bait sitting undisturbed 

in the stagnant stream.