Throwback Thursdays! We’re bringing back some of our favorite pieces from the last 30 years of Scribendi.

Fishing When I Am Twelve Years Old

Bonnie Wells – Western Oregon University – 2014

I’m standing barefoot on a dock made
of recycled plastic in ragged jeans and
a faded black raincoat,
holding the pole while my sister bites
a silvery weight onto the line.
She plucks a worm from a Styrofoam cup
and threads it onto the hook,
wiping the juices off. I wince.
We found out yesterday
that all they’re biting is live bait.
She casts, hums quietly,
fingers loose and slowly reeling
I close the tackle box she has left open.
I stand, step back, scrape my toes on rough plastic.
There were scales caked on the knife,
when I gutted the fish that stuck to my fingers.
I still remember how they itched,
even after I washed them away.