Excerpt from "In the Field" by Sadiqa de Meijer

On a day in July, a small team of people—Kee, a Ministry of Natural Resources representative, a fish biologist, and another student—went to look at fish life in one of the larger ponds, and I joined them. The MNR worker carried a large, heavy battery from his van. He was soon red and struggling to breathe, and I thought his heart might give out. Other than Kee, the white men I worked with that summer, including the entomologist who verified my identifications, often seemed to only acknowledge or address each other; the ministry one ignored my offer of help. He left very deep prints in the mud. At the crescent-shaped pond, the fish expert put on waders and went in. The battery sent its shock through the water and instantly dozens of fish were floating on their sides at the surface, their stunned eyes on the sky. Turning in a circle, the professor muttered names and numbers into a voice recorder. The voltage had been calibrated to immobilize most fish for ten seconds—after that, only ripples remained.




From The Malahat Review's summer issue #223