taktil, an online literary journal

Strange Fish by Louis Bourgeois


Wayne and I stood on the sea wall overlooking the lake.  We were barely old enough to know each others’ name, but I knew what birds were and I knew what cars were, as they passed over the interstate bridge, but I had never seen a fish.  The wind blew right through you and it was the first cold weather I can remember and Wayne just stood there somehow knowing this moment was about to happen, even though there was no way he could really know, but I could see it in his face right before the water broke thick, and something blindingly silver and as long as a good size skiff cut the surface and crashed on top of the water several times before disappearing into the deep.  Of course, now it’s easy to say it was a tarpon, but Wayne and I didn’t know that then and we ran back toward the fishing camp as if the fish in the lake was Hell incarnate, and fear made a home in our hearts for a long time after.



Louis Bourgeois is the Executive Director of VOX PRESS.  His memoir, The Gar Diaries, was nominated for the National Book Award in 2008.  Bourgeois lives, writes, and edits in Oxford, Mississippi.