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April 2015, vol 11 no 1

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Glenn Coats

Pigeons of Clay

Dark. We stay for a time in the car where it is warm. "How many rainbows did they stock?" my son asks. "How many browns?"

Seven o'clock. The circle begins to tighten around the lake and we take our places along the bank. My son has a metal container of worms fastened to his belt and a canvas creel hangs from a shoulder. People toss handfuls of salmon eggs and corn into the water and we watch the sides of trout flash in the water. "They're like goldfish in a bowl," my son says.

Seven forty-five. Fifteen minutes to go and the child next to my son is explaining tangles to him – the unwritten code. "You have to be the one to say first cuts before the other guy," he says. "Then you can cut his line and keep fishing." My son looks up to me for agreement and I nod yes.

It only takes one fisherman to break the rule and drop a line five minutes early and then everyone casts. My son's fingers are cold but he manages to flip a worm out with the veil of other lines. It is like dolphins closing in on a school of baitfish. There is anticipation before the slaughter begins.

evening stars
fish in the bucket
suddenly still