Fishing at Night

Fishing at Night

By Davis McCombs

As if what waited

in the dark

were different

than what travelled

through it:  a chalk

moon rose and filled

the fossil beds

with light.  Print

of a crinoid,

print of a shell.

Here at the slate bar’s

end, where water

swirls and eddies,

I worked the bait

into the dark, bent

on my concentration

to its snags and cur-

rent, the line

going taut then

slack.  It wasn’t

so much the river

as it clucked

and settled over eggs

of chert, but how

it hatched itself

years deeper

in its groove,

how it whispered


with each cleaned hook,

my own veins

pressed like fish scales

in a sunless,

uncracked rock

or book.

(With Permission from Dismal Rock, Tupelo Press, 2007)