Speckled Trout

Water-flesh gleamed like mica:
orange fins, red flankspots, a char
shy as ginseng, found only
in spring-flow gaps, the thin clear
of faraway creeks no map
could name. My cousin showed me
those hidden places. I loved
how we found them, the way we
followed no trail, just stream-sound
tangled in rhododendron,
to where slow water opened
a hole to slip a line in,
and lift as from a well bright
shadows of another world,
held in my hand, their color
already starting to fade.

First published in Weber Studies, 1996, and reprinted from Raising the Dead,; Iris Press, 2002, by permission of the author. Copyright © 1996 by Ron Rash, a writer and professor of Appalachian Cultural Studies at Western Carolina University, whose newest novel is Saints at the River, Picador Press, 2005.
Source: Raising the Dead (Iris Press, 2002)
More Poems by Ron Rash