Sherry Chandler

A thing of roots and mud, the high bank smells
of fish, rotted sycamore leaves, the rank
horseweeds growing thick as a stockade wall
along this deep hole where a grown man might
wade up to his neck in murky water.
If he keeps near the bank, if he explores,
with insinuating hands, cavities
washed out under roots, sometimes to amuse
himself while, on a sandbar, the others
sit resting and the child collects mussel
shells, if he is slow then quick, he can grab
a channel cat by mouth and gills, drag it
into the light. When the loungers have smoked
their cigarettes and pulled from their half-pints,
they rise to the work. He carries the child
on his back, pulls the left brail of the seine,
the child’s father pulls the right, bank to bank,
riffle to riffle. Then, standing waist deep
in Eagle Creek, they raise the net up, through,
and out of the water, its catch of catfish
and carp a writhing green gold silver mass.

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