2012 National Finalist


In streams there are fish that shrink from sunlight.
They lurk at the bottom of holes, among
pop cans and decayed bones. “These are
the fish,” my father told me as he guided my hand,
“that you want to catch.”

That summer my father took me fishing only
three times but I remember each with perfect
clarity – the water, and always the
mouth, the shape lurking the depths of
my vision and the way the line strung out
so sweetly against the glaze of heat and
gnat-clouds. I heard doors opening and
closing on those hot fishing days, and the
hum of thoughts moving so slowly
they almost didn’t exist.

My father said: “Remember the body.
Remember the way the body moves and does not move.
Remember the body fighting for life
and the body that kills so purely. Remember that.
That is God.”


Margaret Shultz, age 18
Iowa City, Iowa

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