Resurrection “Watch out for largemouth bass,” my grandfather said, “especially the lunkers, they’ll eat anything: frogs, mice, muskrats . . . I even saw one leap out of the water and pull down an eagle whose wingspread was as wide as a paddleboard. Those fish see everything with their dragonfly eyes.” That was the day before he left in the hour of the wolf to row to the middle of the lake where he cast his line deep. Just as dawn pulled itself up over the horizon, like a pink-crested bird struggling out of a trap, a behemoth bass hit his boat and swallowed it whole. All that was left was my grandfather’s straw hat bobbing on the water like a buoy. before time moon-sized mouths lurking below Three days later he returned, smelling faintly of fish, but with a light in his eyes that I had not noticed before. When I asked him, he would not say what happened, only that he’d been somewhere that was like the inside of a cold coal furnace. After that, when we fished, we kept close to the shore, pulling in perch and bluegill, walleye and bass small enough so that they wouldn’t break the line. One evening as we were rowing back to the dock, he said, “In a few years, it will be time for me to take you out to the middle of the lake while it is still dark. In the meantime, and this will take a while, you’ll need to learn how to breathe underwater.” dry dock the creak and groan of wind in the old boat
Keith Polette has published poems in both print and online journals. His book of haibun, pilgrimage, received the Haiku Society of America’s Merit Book Award in 2021.