Surfacing

Old men, up to their waists
in water, got scorched by the sun,
and tried to catch some catfish with their hands.
The rocks under their bare feet were smooth
and sank into the sand beneath their steps.

They tried to find the bottom feeders
through the way the water felt,
and all the subtle imperfections
on its surface. Two boulders fallen
from the ridge above the river
leaned against each other, and the current,
down the way.

In the small opening between them, refracted
by the water, were the whiskers of the creature
they were chasing. The closest of them took
their shot and grabbed the slimy tail.
The captive pulled him under and a light
so bright destroyed his view of everything.

As it dragged him he jammed his fingers
between its gills, and held them there
until the air just couldn’t filter.
He surfaced with the catch in hand
and lying there atop the sand
was a woman without any legs
but a tail made of silver.

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