Carol Potter: “Night-Crawlers”


He was outside digging for night-crawlers when I got home. The flashlight, little bucket, tiny whistle he used to entice them out of the ground. He was a magician really the way they’d come out of their holes and look around. Blinded suddenly by the light they’d stop wriggling, let him pick them up between his index and thumb. They’re never warm to the touch, and he would want to warm them a bit like somehow it would make it all better. What he was about to do. The hook he’d pass through the night-crawler’s  tubular rubber. Only it wasn’t rubber and the hook was the hook. The stream, the stream. And the fish swimming at it with its mouth open, the fish. I wasn’t a fan of that.  Hauling the fish out of the stream. The stream was in the fish and the fish was cold to touch. The eye like the eye of the sky. Like the eye of anything that might look at you if it could. How we need them though. What we eat. What we haul out of the stream. What we hook through the lip.

Carol Potter is the 2014 winner of the Field Poetry Prize from Oberlin College Press for her fifth book of poems, Some Slow Bees. Recent publications include poems in Green Mountains Review, Hotel Amerika, Sinister Wisdom, Kenyon Review, Hayden’s Ferry, Massachusetts Review, and the anthology of contemporary Vermont poetry, Roads Taken.

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