Smallmouth Bestiary


They line up along slick shelves, Broken rock shoulder and rebar, Waiting their lives out to ambush The patterns we try to perfect: Our best was a chartreuse buck- Tail clouser we tied with a loop Near the head of the crimped hook, So that it swiveled no matter what, A point turned upwards to drift Until the fish pulsed the current And fit a hinged mouth over The tiny, red barbell of its eyes.

JON PINEDA is the author of the poetry collection Little Anodynes. He lives in Virginia.