Across the canal, at Higbee’s Beach, paths wind through
a sanctuary of seabirds and water fowl. A ferry I do not board
backs into a November night, backs through the remains
of horseshoe crabs laying eggs on shore. I reach an apology
in the sand, find the stick used to imprint it; sand clogs
the end. It smells of low tide, a single strand of woman’s hair
caught against the rim of bamboo. If I had stayed, I would
not have closed the future of you, but picked up the child’s boot
from the debris of tide, wrapped it up with the entanglements
of seaweed and saltgrass, brought it home on another road. And I
will think of you years hence, of your foot in a rubber boot
trying to catch flounder from the bay, pole stand dug into
the last sandbar, small hand winding the line in, slow click
and turn of the reel, the sand shark you almost wrestle
to your feet, the empty hook, your surprise at how just before
the last hitch of the reel it slips away, how you will never
really learn to fish, to catch anything other than what has to be
thrown back in.
Kyle Laws is based out of the Arts Alliance Studios Community in Pueblo, CO where she directs Line/Circle: Women Poets in Performance. Her collections include Faces of Fishing Creek (Middle Creek Publishing), So Bright to Blind (Five Oaks Press), and Wildwood (Lummox Press). Ride the Pink Horse is forthcoming from Spartan Press. With six nominations for a Pushcart Prize, her poems and essays have appeared in magazines and anthologies in the U.S., U.K., and Canada. She is the editor and publisher of Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press.
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“”Anything that has to be thrown back in” gives me license to also choose what can be put back in, namely, fish themselves. I can almost smell the seashore through your words, Kyle.