Melipeuco River, Chile
by Jenny Amery

Unslept night folds into
tumbling ice-melt dawn,
where skilled oarsmen seek
the fish determined to spawn.
Long hours later she bites,
and pulls, and on and on she fights
to exhaustion in the shallows,
her dark, red stain slowly spreading
from the hook’s gallows.
Her last thrust and drying eyes make
my heart constrict. To honour
her struggle we say a silent grace,
and taste that stilled, grilled flesh
by firelight and Southern Cross
to acknowledge her loss,
knowing more fish are leaping,
and the river is sparkling
and flowing on.