by Linda Fields 

We stand side by side, a small stool, a tackle box and seven decades between us.
Patience is our bait, the sun our provocation. Sliced or stabbed with a piercing hook,
the night crawler’s pain rips through me. Grandpa threads it for me.

We wait. I kick the water. The bay, a changing canvas of greens and blues,
the strokes and patterns form and reform from the edge of the dock.
A zephyr descends like a feather. A brief respite from the heat.

A snapper strains the line. He yanks her up. A flash of citron and cream drips saltiness.
Then, a discourteous slap to the ground, tethered, impaled. There’s a gasping sound, and a
silent squall from a bruised mouth. Breath catches in my throat.

The near-century-old figure turns around and pronounces, “She’s too small.” With a wink,
the womb of the bay receives an offering. One of its own is reclaimed. I study him as the
sunlight pours into the water, and he watches her circle.

“Circles going down,” he says. “Struggling with life . . .”
We stand silent as the circles disappear.

 

Photo by Timothy L Brock on Unsplash