The edge of the shoal • The New Yorker


swings the fish from the water, a wild stripe flicking and flashing into the boat, and grabs the line, twisting the hook out, holding the fish down in the footrests. It gasps, thrashes. Drums. Something rapid and primal, ceremonial, in the shallow of the open boat.

Flecks of blood and scales loosen, as if turning to rainbows in his hands, as he picks up the fish and breaks its neck, feels the minute rim of teeth inside its jaw on the pad of his forefinger, puts his thumb behind the head and snaps.

The jaw splits and the gills splay, like an opening flower.

He was sure he would catch fish. He left just a simple note: “Pick salad x.”

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