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a voice crying out in the postmodern wilderness

Baiting Hooks

We’d put in at Stingray’s, 
Pope’s Wellcraft behind
his blue Cadillac. As we
idled in the slick next to 
barnacled piers, a grown up
would go inside to buy a 
quart of live shrimp.
 
After a long and windy
commute, mullet leaping,
pelicans gliding, and gulls 
begging, we’d stop and the 
boat would relax and squat 
in the water. Pope would 
kill the motor.
 
Inside an Igloo cooler in the 
near the transom was a live
well which contained the 
condemned. The aerator 
hummed bubbles into the 
murk, which kept the shrimp
alive for most of the day. 
 
Reach in there and get you
one, Dad would say. But I 
was scared. The live well
was full of horned crustaceans.
They’d snap shut on your
hands, sharp tails and heads,
and man it stung.
 
At first we used little mesh
nets, and that was easy. 
My pulse didn’t change as
I dipped in and got one. 
But the men used their bare
hands, and I was eager for
my initiation.
 
Dad and Pope reached in
as if grabbing a potato chip, 
not looking and not flinching.
My hand begged me to stop, 
and I thus stopped short to
pick my mark carefully.
 
Grabbing one, it popped
me and skittered along 
the deck. No one laughed;
no one even looked.
They just minded their
own lines.
 
And I minded mine.

My Depravity Beautifies the Birds

What is Truth?