The Hatchery by M. Stone

Trout crowd together in narrow containers
with wire mesh covers, their scales glinting like motor oil
on the surface of a mud puddle.

For a quarter you can buy pellet food
and watch suckling mouths emerge from the water.

When the fish are sufficiently fattened,
the state releases them into lakes and rivers
where they will endure the hook’s bite,

the haul into stunning daylight. Some will be tossed back,
only to fall for the ruse again and again, recalling
the human shadow, the benevolent hand.



M. Stone is a bookworm, birdwatcher, and stargazer who writes poetry while living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in San Pedro River Review, SOFTBLOW, Calamus Journal, and numerous other print and online journals. She can be reached at

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