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.