The Man Who Fished For Children

The girl’s body was stuck under a ledge at the bottom of a plunge pool where the river spun like some mad cyclone bent on boring to the center of the earth. His only tool a long grievous pole, his face set like he was born scowling, it took him a full day to get to her, tie the retrieval ropes and lever her out. The river, gorging on snow melt, fought him like he had no right to her body.

Quiet as cormorants, people stood on the rocks and watched. He brought her up, laid her on a sand bar and told everyone to leave. Later, at the parking lot, people tried to offer him money to say thank you. He said no and tied the pole to the side of his truck.

Tossing in sleep that night with a bone deep headache, he thought about the frozen knobs of her hands. He saw the outhouse at the Methodist church camp he attended when he was a kid. Putting his eye to the chink, a yolk of light coming out, then nothing.

Then his parent’s farm in Estacada. A Berkshire hog with bloodshot eyes standing in a field of stumps. Butchering day. Long skein of intestines. Head with its snout and hairy nostrils set aside for cheese. Steady drip of blood on the dirt. Dogs baying for scraps. Marshlights in the summer darkness.

2 responses to “The Man Who Fished For Children

  1. A funeral poem. We recover dead bodies to process them with funerals, though like weddings they are done less and less often now. In some things art is replacing religion (W. Stevens). We cannot save the dead, but we can honor them. Does this poem work as a funeral? I think it does.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Craig Brandis (aka Burl Whitman)

      Fascinating. Thanks bro. Poetry spun out of religion, according to Neruda, so a fresh approach to an old ritual seems within its reach.

      Like

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