The Electorate

Plenty of fish – a commentary on defining trickery, luck, and innocence, framed around modern political figures.

the electorate

By Jacob Yankey

It is November, here. Towards
the back of my aunt’s property,

the pond isn’t yet solid; but
to be certain the only fish still

awake are the ones that eat
grease bubbles and water beetle

larvae. Held, now, in my gloved hand
is a white, sick-looking catfish.

It looks like a bleached carrot.
It isn’t sick, it’s albino – but it looks sick.

My uncle knows him, says he was the
president of the pond (showing me the

pockmarks from prior catches). Today
he is not a lucky president. Slicing

into the fillet meat, the fish starts
gaping and ungaping his jaw,

gasping for air. Never mind the fact
that fish don’t have lungs

or the fact that the left half of
his body is now on ice near the porch.

The fish gasps for air in the same way
a drowning child does. He is both a fish

and not a fish. He is both a human
and not a human. He is trying to trick me,

to make me think he is my brother – hoping
I’ll throw him back into the water and let

him slowly wander back to his bottom
feeding grounds (the same grounds

doing the same things he has always
done – eating the poor – as if it wasn’t

already too late). We stare into each
other’s eyes and I do not believe

he is innocent. It is November and
today he is not a lucky president.

Jacob Yankey studied chemistry and minored in creative writing with a focus in poetry. He graduated from UNC in 2020 and is a graduate student at the University of Utah as of 2021.