Fiction   Essays   Poetry  The Ten On Baseball Chapbooks In Memory

Brent McCafferty

Holter Lake, Fishing with My Brother

Holter Lake green, moon low and freckled
with meteor holes. Not an animal to be heard calling
in the darkness for a child. Our fishing tackle

languishing in the back of the car after the debacle
of a day-long drive that should've taken one hour (flats stalling
us in Cascade and near Craig). Improvising, we hackle

an old nightshirt into thin strips with which we cobble
together cloths resembling bandanas and commence dolling
up our heads like Bolshevik widows to avoid the macled

double-mouths of hungry mosquitoes. From local grackles,
wolves, and wolverines one learns patience; after pooling
birchwood sticks from the cab of our fishing vehicle

in the middle of a sandy firepit, I arrange them in an up-rising circle --
well, a circular base with a teepee's pointed top -- and, pulling
a match over my well-worn matchbox over, over, over, produce a small speckle

of flame. On the beach, in the dumb night, the soft, almost indelible crackle
of coiling, fish-tongued fire. Brandon, with little stalling
to adjust his too-big fishing shorts, gives a get-up-get-moving-and-go cackle
as he cannonballs into our best bass hole -- ruinin' it, to use the Montana vernacle.

Snowshoe Rabbit

Our arctic eminence
trails tiny, clover-soft tracks
behind broad, gabardine backs
of his flensed
paws, which, stripped of any semblance
of fat, look lean but do not lack
for muscle, sturdy, like a thick
deck of cards whose tense
spines snap from a standard
pack per their druthers,
blacks and reds fluttering among the neat
fingers of the word-
less dealer who throws a silent six, then another --
paired, as the hare's hind feet

Brandon Kills a Cereal Leaf Beetle
Outside a Teton Park Outhouse

It seems his mini-flashlight's caught the wight
in unpropitious pause upon the bright-
hued door whose silver placard reads in ten
(less one) clean-stenciled letters GENTLEMEN;
on his way in he gives the bug a smack
in unabashed indifference with the back
of his free hand, which he soon washes clean
at spigot's head beside the steel latrine

©2006 by Brent McCafferty

Raised in the wine country of southern France, Brent McCafferty recently moved from Bordeaux to the United States' eastern shores. As a sometime sommelier for the Chateaux St. Michelle, Haut-Brion, and d'Yquem, the author has developed a fondness for Michelle Eroica Riesling, vintage 2003. He lives and writes in College Park, Maryland.

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