I pull the rod back and let the line go. The lure really wants the tree. It’s supposed to be weed-less. I suppose that doesn’t mean treeless. But maybe it does.
Here’s the ditch of latte colored overspill from the flooded river I’m fishing in with my friend. The lure I use, a fluorescent yellow and green one with flecks of red and black, is stuck in the fallen tree limb in the middle of this soup. I can hear my friend’s older brother who let me borrow it telling me if I lose it, he’ll beat me up.
Though I can’t see an inch down through the water, it is beyond easy to imagine a large bass the size of a pug, my father’s favorite breed, looking lazy underneath the fallen tree, looking up at the splashy thing simultaneously aggravating and enticing it, thinking why the hell not, it’s probably not a boat like last time.
So, here I am, halfway out in the muck, feeling with my toes for anything metal I can’t see, a large leech is thinking about latching onto me. It looks like a mollusk or a clam loose from its shell as it undulates by wanting to attach itself to anything that moves.
This dilemma of the lure stays hooked in me to this day. The decisions I made as a boy to fish with a thing designed to piss fish off to their demise stays with me. I think I wanted so badly to know how to make things want to trap themselves for my betterment, now it seems only fitting that the lure is aggravating me enough to make me want to write this poem.
It whizzes past my ear and splashes into a line where it begins pulling across the white space of want without shame or worry. If I were to give it human qualities, I’d say it knows if it doesn’t catch anything at first, it’ll just keep getting chucked out there in the emptiness of primal consciousness until something looks at it, so it’s not hellbent on being perfect.
It knows, like I know, that everything gets stuck eventually, and that I’ve been stuck for so long I’m afraid to pull myself free, afraid that if I do, I’ll start to forget how to free myself and end up catching on everything that hangs over me so often I’ll have no choice but to believe what’s the point of trying to do anything.
Which is why I’m so thankful for the brown river inside me that to this day, almost forty years later, still thinks don’t worry about it, just go with it, and if you’re gone, then well, go with that too.