“After the Argument” by Bill King

         "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).