Golden Hour

by Kimberly Casey

When you caught one to keep,
we took it home and I asked you to teach me.
You showed me how to spike the brain—
I thanked the fish, looked away, pressed down.
We bled it, shaved away the scales,
severed meat from bone.

I’m afraid of leaving my loved ones alone.
Flying into an endless sunset the next day,
a soft glow through the window,
and every passenger is glazed
a smooth bronze. Every other seat empty,
each face masked, some with simple fabric, others
medical-grade filtration set beneath serious eyes.

No one here talks much.
Bodies pull away from the aisle
each time a passenger scurries by.
If a plane crashes in the middle of a pandemic,
would the world make a sound?
How do we grieve
one loss among so many?

Yesterday the breeze caught the water
making waves beneath the boat,
and you swayed staring out
toward the setting sun.
Your skin slick with sweat
bronzed in the light bouncing
under the bridge where you waited
for something to bite—

I told you I didn’t understand
the need to maim something
just to send it swimming back below
with a taste of blood.
You said we are all violent.
It’s about finding the way out
that does the least damage.

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