The thin mass of the line casting out, caught, reeled in hard has me thinking sliced, a mask of blood pulsing onto my cut palm, but it’s a trick. I can feel the trough pressing back up until there is no more hollow. Then waiting. There is only weight to go on, not the line moving. The bite is real, but then repeated illusion, the way I sense the dock moving on the lake long after I reach land. Eventually, the faint gleam when the little ones pull, their lips stretched. We throw them back and have to believe the scales will grow again. Everything is one of our stories. If I keep remembering them, then you still get to be part of the days that keep coming one after the other. Then the water is just my body, just the way I move over it, a feeling as muted as the air.

LEAH DUNHAM received her MFA from the University of California, Irvine, and currently resides in her home state of North Carolina, where she works for an international health nonprofit. Her work appears in Cimarron Review, Blackbird, and The Greensboro Review.