FISH FEEL NO PAIN
by Michelle Renee Hoppe
My little brother held a trout, a rainbow burning bright enough to eclipse reflections. The fish did not reflect, but the stream did, and he took a mighty brown watery rock to spill the brains of the flesh, white and red onto the grey wooden dock, a spilling of color all over the dock, and when I screamed he said, Fish feel no pain.
I told him he could not know fish’s mind, not at ten or twenty or a thousand years could he know the inner worlds of slippery things, but that day I learned eating took no feeling.
He picked up the dead limp thing that once swam bravely, meant to be swallowed by dolphins or sharks, whales singing underwater, pelicans that fly without invention, alligators who were also dinosaurs, flamingos that were too, and asked if I’d like some.
When I screamed, he told me, Pipe down, for what was it but the way of things? Then he killed a mother trout, hooked by her tail and reeled her in backwards. No fisherman could bait her.
She was gutted and her eggs served beside the flesh—red eggs, white flesh.
Michelle Renee Hoppe holds a BA in English from BYU, where she ran a nonprofit for struggling students. She was a NYC Teaching Fellow in special education and a top private educational therapist, working on cases for disabled students. Her work won court cases against the NYCDOE. Her written work can be found in Saw Palm, South 85 Journal, and HoneySuckle Magazine, among others. She is the founder and Creative Director of Capable, a nonprofit dedicated to uplifting and funding the voices of disabled and chronically ill authors and artists. She lectures in Saudi Arabia, where she lives down the street from a Bedouin tribe and a Starbucks. She recently adopted two wild desert kittens.