Trout Flashes


In the Blue Ridge mountains of southwestern Virginia, sitting on a rock that juts like a peninsula into a little stream called Back Creek, my twelve-year-old brother—wiry, already chiseled and lean—wets a piece of bread between the tip of his tongue and his front teeth, takes it out, balls it between his thumb and index finger, and then sticks it on a hook. He throws it into the current at the top of the hole and lets it drift down and down. Maybe you’ll catch a trout, I say. Ain’t no trout in here, he says, pulling up another mad-tail-flipping sucker, a fat-headed thing with horny bumps on its crown. I want to fish, too, but there is never room for both of us.

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Bill King is a 1990 graduate of the M.A. program in Creative Writing at the University of Georgia and has taught literature and creative writing at Davis & Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia, for the past twenty years. His work has appeared and is forthcoming in several journals and anthologies, including Kestrel, Appalachian Heritage, Still: The Journal, The Southern Poetry Anthology, and A Narrow Fellow: Journal of Poetry.

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