"After the Argument" After the argument, full of sorrow, and weary, I drive until I’m standing in a river that cuts through the second oldest mountain range in the world. Nothing we have said has not been said before. I catch fish after fish in this one crooked stretch. Twenty-nine in three hours the length of my elbow down. It’s odd, this bounty I don’t deserve—of greater and greater gratitude, and relief, with each release. When I was younger, I’d string them up alive and straining through the gills. Today, I cradle each one half in and out of water, their green and gold scales—tiny mirrors that flash a silent plea: have and hold, but only to better see, how letting go rekindles what love used to be.
Bill King (he/him) is a Pushcart Prize nominee who has been published in many journals and anthologies, including 100 Word Story, The Southern Poetry Anthology, Still: The Journal, Kestrel, and Appalachian Heritage. He grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwestern Virginia, holds an M.A. in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Literature from the University of Georgia, and teaches creative writing and literature at Davis & Elkins College in Elkins, WV. His chapbook, from Finishing Line Press, is The Letting Go (2018). His first full-length poetry collection, Bloodroot, will be released in 2023 (Mercer University Press).