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Photo by  Patrick Feller

 You’ve mentioned more than once that you’ve never been fishing,
it makes me wonder if you want to learn
if I should insist, drag you along
if you could be bothered to ask

I think back to the hundreds of times I’ve cast a line in the water
how unavoidable it is to fish if you’re a boy in Southeast Texas
even if you hate fishing, or think you do
how fishing is a day off from a stressful job
how fishing is a stressful job
sometimes fishing is a code
sometimes you’re fishing for compliments
it’s always a wriggling reward attached to consequences

I think back to the dozens of flat bottom aluminum boats
peeling wooden dinghies
majestic sails and roaring motors
to the creaking docks
the rotted piers
the black mud and clams between my toes
the creeks, and ponds, and sloughs, and bayous, and canals,
could I take you to the secret spots?
the places where the fish jump all day

Swear to god!
Damn thing was big as my leg!
Never seen anything like it.
Had to be a foot outta the water if it was an inch!
Yanked the pole right outta my hands.

I think back to the hundreds of times I’ve cast a line in the water
tied to a piece of cane
or wrapped around a rock
gripped tightly in my bare hands
or from a reel
eyed along a child-sized pole with Snoopy on it
my bobber plopping languidly against the silver surface
or hip deep in the waves brandishing a pole twice as tall as me
How many shrimp have I lost?
How many worms? Crickets?
Mullet pulled from coastal waters in splayed cast nets
then returned, pierced
doomed to be my interface with the deep

You’ve mentioned more than once that you’ve never been fishing,
and I realize too late that you’re doing it now
you set the hook so smoothly I never felt a thing