After The Old Guy Actually Applauded My Landing of a Five Pound Rainbow by Joe Benevento

I called back my thanks, still focused on the fish
I had pulled out by putting my hand inside its mouth,
where what passes for teeth in trout conspired
with my pink and silver treble-hooked spoon to complicate
my rushing joy for one that had not gotten away.

In my haste to show my son,
who loves fishing almost more than he loves
me, I began racing my unwilling guest
over the green hill towards where Joey
angled just as the hooks were fully free from my fish,

and so received a pink and silver surprise to the back
of my hand, though not enough to draw blood
or matter. What was a quick, small sting
to the marvel of carrying that evidence back
to my son, who could not judge

the trout’s true size, far away as he was
the opposite side of the pond
with his newish girlfriend, talking steadily
and only sometimes pretending to care whether
his lure might discover some living resistance

in those late November waters separating us,
which was why I had landed that fish
without the net lying at Joey’s feet,
and why I held that trout across my chest
so my son could maybe measure

how well I had managed to do without him.

Author Bio
Joe Benevento teaches Creative Writing and American Literature at Truman State. His most recent of eight books of fiction and poetry is Tough Guys Don’t Write published by Finishing Line Press.