Smallmouth Bestiary

by Jon Pineda

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.