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April 2018, vol 14 no 1

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Amanda Bell

Hoppers and Daddies

The feel of a hopper in the dome of your palms – the gentle twitch of him, the dark quiet. It’s mayfly season, and you’re on the sandy bay, hunting. There’s a little wooden box for them. Rectangular. One corner is hinged, and lifts up on an elastic band so you can slip them in. There are gauze panels on the sides so you can count your catch. They jump against the solid lid. The muscularity of them, their hard carapace, legs like steel pins. Daddies are different, fey and weightless, limbs fine as hair. The squish of their bodies as they're threaded onto fish-hooks.

side on to the swell
the sky looks closer
then further off

You watch the offering as it floats on the wave, the gossamer cast which bellies in the wind. It hops, lifelike, as the breeze gusts. Down below they watch it too, the wary fish. Sometimes they take it in their chilly mouths. Sometimes they swallow.

silver scales
drifting from the landing net
one by one by one