A Fishing Expedition

I caught my first fish

at age two, no hook,

no reel, a wriggling worm

tied with the string

on my cane pole.

My daddy set me up.

Quiet cross-legged on the dock

obeying his concise

instructions, shhh, watch now.

Patient, wide-eyed while a tiny perch

nibbled its way through

my offering.  No one came

when I yelled,

I caught one!

I finally jerked my catch

out of the water, running

to show what shocked

them all.  This is my first

memory of how I learned

that words can kill,

the worm and string swallowed

by a being too small for the skillet,

yet condemned to death

by my belief

in my father’s teaching.

I had no way to say

how everything instantly changed

as I heard them talk;

they had given me an

impossible task

and I had completed it,

to their horror.  The poor little

fish, my mother’s distaste

and the grim look

on my father’s


killing the consequence

of minding

literal, careless commands,

the fish and my shared peril.

Inspired by:  Concise, Fish and Learn