by Gregory Lawless
Gregory Lawless is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Ampersand, Apple Valley Review, "Best of the Net 2007," Blood Orange Review, Contrary, The Cortland Review, Drunken Boat, Front Porch Journal, Gander Press Review, H_NGM_N, La Petite Zine, Memorious, My Name Is Mud, nth position, Sonora Review, Stride, and 2River. BlazeVOX will publish his collection of poems, I Thought I Was New Here, in 2009. He lives in Waltham, Massachusetts.
I haul the fishing house across the ice
to the deep lake where the ice is shallow
and groans under wheel
and fetch the auger out from the bed of the pickup
truck and tip the bait bucket over
and sit and start to twist
the ice with the gnarled auger. I have
a pick and shovel, too, and jars
of minnows I nearly spill boring
through to cold water. Bright sprawls
of tackle soon are buried under
an inch of shavings thin as peeled
skin and I rock back slightly shifting
my shadow slightly to look for hooks
in the shaved snow
before dressing the pole and spearing
a minnow on a half-inch hook, just so.
Just so, I say, and the hook sickles through.
I have a gaff, too, and heavy gloves
for the cold and blood. Some fish
have teeth and these fish
eat my dreams beneath the ice
of sleep. Under here
there's only so much under, so
much down to plunder. I sink
and wait, and sometimes
the fish believe the hook.
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