Catch and Release

the first fish I caught, I barely hooked
its lip snagged so lightly it flopped free on its own

ten years old, the man behind the garage
wanted to show you his cool car

the second fish I caught, the hook cut deeper
the fish panicked. I pricked my thumb working it loose.

fourteen years old, the man in the truck
wanted to give you a ride to the bus station

the third fish I caught swallowed the hook, deep back in its throat
it took minutes, a pair of pliers, blood streaming down its cheeks.

seventeen years old, the man in your friend’s apartment
wouldn’t let you leave

this is the humane way to do it. There’s no harm done
as long as you let them go after.

– Gabe Moses