The doors of the brook trout’s pink gills open
and close as it wriggles in my palm, back
yellow and black, variegated like coral. Light appears
at the fish’s exposed sides, and the sound of water
collects in backwash where the stream careens
over boulders, milk-white like the edging along the fish’s
pelvic and anal fins. In hand, the caudal fin
flays orange and ebony, a nimbus of flame
haloing the body. The fish’s eyes continue to hold
the caddis hatch, while the thread the stream holes
itself through makes a thin space between ridges.
I spread the net of my fingers in the water,
and the trout disappears beneath a ledge, as the stream
will, if I follow it high up into the mountain.