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, rock cod, salmon, once or twice.
Cappie–ah, those gills flapping.

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

My six-year-old self paralyzed
by the instant loss of life.
After such a clear struggle
against nothing comprehensible–
the fish could not comprehend.

But what and if they could?
There I stood, powerful and
powerless. Six years old
and playing God on a weekend,
deciding which were too small to keep.

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

Today, I will not go bass fishing
on Lake Skamish nor any
other lake . But you,
have your fun, eating
your tuna sandwich in the sun.

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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