Bass Fishing on Lake Samish Just North of the Skagit County Line

I have never been bass fishing
that I know of–fishing, yes.
Trout, yes. Salmon, once or twice.
Cappie–ah, that memory scarred me
for life.

The crappie, probably half a dozen,
on a stringer, flopped in the kitchen
sink–gills gasping for oxygen-laden
water, home miles away in some
Oregon lake or Willamette River

My six-year-old self paralyzed
by the instant loss of life
after such a clear struggle
against nothing comprehensible–
as if fish could comprehend.

But what and if they could?
There I stood, powerful and
powerless. Six years old
and playing God on a weekend
fishing trip,

and they, wondering about the karma
of their lives, lose sight
of their executioner
as their eyes turn to glass
and my reflection judges me guilty

These are Dolly Varden that my daughter caught.  She loves to fish with her grandpa. Only the fish think about karma these days.
These are Dolly Varden that my daughter caught. She loves to fish with her grandpa. Only the fish think about karma these days.
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