Thief of My Fish

Road trips always have their mishaps: flat tires, snow bound axles, punctured oil pans. Forgotten reels. Cases of beer left on the topper. Break-ups, break-downs, and break-ins… and in the wide open free range of the west: the wandering black angus.

Thief of My Fish

Searching beneath the stars that cover Walcott

in a loud, bright blanket, I try to catch hold

of this life which keeps expanding: up the road

a black cow waits on the black asphalt in the deep

black night. That there was a single cow instead of three

or four basking in the last heat, simply luck.

That Travis slams the brakes, whips the wheel,

and shoots past the immobile mass, a miracle.

Afterward, neither of us has much to say. Travis rolls

down the window and smokes. The world in motion,

suddenly suspends. We could be anywhere, cut loose,

transfixed by scales that tip back and forth then slip

away into the current. To feel the brush of wing,

but never beak or talon, to wake suddenly, mesmerized

by the rushing highway wind. The small bump caught

in the headlights. A deer that lifts over the crumpled hood.

The night opens as wide as it ever will, then slams

back to two lanes, complimentary ditches, guardrails.

We pull over and listen to creaking beetle-kill, pretend

to be mindless as we piss. But I can’t help think about

whatever it is that keeps us from slamming into

immobile masses. Equations flash through the brush

as someone drives past. Black cow waits, unsolvable.

Waits like a worm-bobbered thief of my fish. Even if I tried

to keep watch until sunrise, you’d steal them during the day.


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