Jim eases the johnboat off the bank.
Bib-overalled on the bow platform,
I lift a trident gig, and Clifton
attaches wires to a car battery.
Spotlights illuminate the creek
like an aquarium. I stab, hit nothing
but creek bottom—the fish
are not where they seem.
Like a marksman trying to sight in,
I adjust to the left, right, up, down.
It’s not the weapon’s fault.
Taking his turn, Clifton
fills the boat’s floor with drum and carp. 

We skid onto a gravel bar
next to three other boats. Wives
surround a bonfire, tend pots
of boiling lard, make hushpuppies
of cornmeal, eggs, and bacon grease.
The men gut and clean the fish,
throw heads and entrails into the weeds.
The women rinse bodies in the creek,
dredge them in paprika-and-pepper laden flour,
pop them in to fry until their bones melt,
their skins golden. Rough men and women
wolf hot fish and fixings, drink cheap beer,
laugh and chatter until nothing is left but embers.

Winter Harvest: Jewish Writing in St. Louis 2006-2011, The Brodsky Library Press (2011), p. 56

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