Poaching

Waters Deep, 2018

fishing streamLate April, sliver of moon.

We hiked the lazy dirt road,

bringing spears to nail silver flashes

of Northerns spawning in the creek.

Poaching? So what?

This land belonged to us.

Just out of mud season,

moisture scented everything.

Poplar trees, sprinkle of maples,

their smell of new leaves a gift

of intoxication.

We were dark shapes to each other,

and sharp whispers.

That was enough.

We knew where we were going.

Pebbles crunched under our feet.

On lucky nights we could hear the coyotes

calling in the distance.

This was the way of our fathers

when they were young.

Carrying flashlights,

on the look out for game wardens,

ready to douse the flame.

Poaching fed families. Money was scarce;

we needed free venison, free fish.

Ducks and geese.

Poaching was fun.

And who were city folks anyway to tell us

when and how to catch our game?

 

Today, the creek is channeled

through a concrete culvert.

It does not disturb the lay of the land.

The dirt road still meanders,

but higher and wider,

no longer gutted by spring’s mud holes.

Some nights there are still whispers under the moon.

And the pesky washboards remain,

stubborn, born naturally of the tension

between tires and dry heat.