The fish are descendants of the trout stocked downstream, born from eggs carried on the legs of blackbirds, to this desolate place. Her place off the path, over the low side of a boulder, into the woods of the southern slope, above the valley. In this part of the country the water from the pipes runs sulfur, putrid, and the men and the boys were left under the ground, and the trees have all gone to ghosts. She makes her way alone through stands of trees marred by makeshift deer stands, rough hewn scraps nailed into their crotches. She trundles, keeping pace with an invisible companion, somewhere between this world and another, like footsteps finally fallen to bed, the whiskey breathing, the pant then the collapsed snore while the family practices its deaf muteness. She scrambles to the edge of sloughed off earth to peer into crystal blue water pooled at the bottom, catching a glimpse of the impossible fish below. These bootleg mines and caved in places, the unmapped gaps of enticement beckon the daring forward. Inward, to rest her hands on the hard seams of history, of fools gold, waiting to give way under foot or to exhale their poison, and the old whispered warnings no one will find you are true.
Musical composition by Victor D. Sandiego