Charlotte Mandel - USA
A young boy named Ken sat upon the stone wall at lake's edge today, fishing for bass, catching only sunnies and throwing them back.
One came up deeply hooked and when the boy tugged, worse happened – it held. I saw that he had no sense of how to extract the hook gently – as I might work an earring through my ear lobe – and much blood came upon the boy's hand, his left hand. Loosening the fish at last, he threw it back. Worried, though: "He's not dead, he didn't come back – if he dies, he'll float."
"He'll heal," I said, almost sure of this. Telling myself you can't pity every damn thing that somebody hurts in this world.
But I didn't like to see the boy left with a bloody hand.
"Do you want me to get you some water to wash that or do you want to put it in the lake?" I gave him a leading question of choices.
swirl of red
on green current
mouths wide open