The girl’s body was stuck under a ledge at the bottom of a plunge pool where the river spun like some mad cyclone bent on boring to the center of the earth. His only tool a long grievous pole, his face set like he was born scowling, it took him a full day to get to her, tie the retrieval ropes and lever her out. The river, gorging on snow melt, fought him like he had no right to the body.
People stood on the rocks and watched, quiet as cormorants. He brought her up, laid her on a sand bar and told everyone to leave. Later, at the parking lot, people tried to offer him money to say thank you. He said no and tied the pole to the side of his truck.
Driving home on the backroads in a Ford 150 that used to be blue, he thought about the frozen knobs of her hands. Tossing in sleep that night,with a bone deep headache, he saw the outhouse at the Methodist church camp he attended when he was a kid. Putting his eye to the chink, a yolk of light coming out, then nothing.
Then his parent’s farm in Estacada. A Berkshire hog with bloodshot eyes standing in a field of stumps. Butchering day. A long skein of intestines. The head with its snout and hairy nostrils set aside for cheese. A steady drip of blood on the dirt. Dogs baying for scraps. Marshlights in the summer darkness.