A Small Confession

Midder—my great aunt
by age and

superlative degree,
but really

just a woman by marriage
and love

that was thicker than

me fishing at Taylor’s
pond, across

the road and buried
in bushes

like a secret. I was
five and

squeamish ’bout worms,
so she stitched

fresh bait on my empty
hooks, pierced

little red wigglers—

foetida—in folds, till
once I cast

too early, and jerked
the hook

straight through her
finger. I

watched in helpless
child horror

as she said, Baby
it’s alright

and snipped the prong
with pliers, then

pulled the curve back
out. I ain’t

never told nobody
’bout this—

except you—and now I’m
glad it’s done.


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