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