Camping in eastern Washington
Smoky wood smell
Mist in the morning. And crows cawing.
When you’re out in the air it’s got this biting sort of cold to it
That feels like life.
You’re enjoying the sight of the earth before the mist lifts,
The anticipation of the clouds ascent
And the wetted grass, pine cones on the ground.
We then go to the lake.
A half mile walk through a field.
The lake is clear and it’s cold.
We get out the tackle box
The bait and the lures— some are just hooks
Some look like tiny fish. The bait is a neon paste
Placed on the hook.
The lines are cast.
We wait. Maybe just minutes
Maybe an hour.
We get a trout.
First one I caught by myself, I was six. It was a foot long.
It was a lovely specimen—a rainbow trout and we ate it.
My older brother and I would take the fish
To the gutting place with Mike and he taught us how to gut it,
cutting from the cloaca to the neck, hacking at the head,
then pulling it out and the organs with it.
Then scraping the fecal matter and blood still within the fish.
The intestines were always so strange looking like worms
with odd little valves at the end.
It was a strange moment where taking something apart
Was actually interesting.
Machinery was just bits and pieces.
Taking apart a fish was messy and fun.
At the time, it was just a perverted joy.
If it was any other living thing, I might have hesitated.
But the trout was caught specifically for killing and eating.
It was an acceptable time to be primal.


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