Lynne Potts

State of Being

Rusted mesh metal roped to the dock — the bait

box held a catfish caught in the neighbor’s mucky

rowboat harbor. What happened that day, I have to ask —

when Uncle Ray dumped catch from his creel into the box

as we all watched — that catfish became the catch word

for oddity, attached like an inside pocket to Ray, sly angler,

me, the rapt one with bamboo pole, bait and watery line,

longing for his favor. Years later Ray taught French,

Spanish, and Russian grammar, moved to Uruguay

to find a perfect democracy, drank, recovered, wrote

a book on functions of the verb to be — and shot himself

at the age I am now. So, though you may not

always see it in my eyes, I am in a watery deep –

the hook of him, the worm of what happened.