It was dough balls and stink bait

mixed days before,

then we had to wait for

the night of the full moon.

We’d go at dusk to Lake Afton,

spread out Grandma’s old quilt,

bait the hooks, loft them out,

set the tensions, and wait.

In the darkening night,

with the water-cooled breeze

chattering the cottonwood leaves,

we would listen for the whine of a reel

or the flop of a giant cat,

as the cicadas packed seventeen years of buzz

into one blitz.

And later we would eat

white bread sandwiches

of cheddar cheese and mustard,

and I would squint

at the moon-rippled water

from my spot between Mom and Dad

and imagine my life.

Photo by Joy Gough, do not copy