Cast Out

From the collection And Don’t Come Back published in 2021.

Cast Out

It’s impolite, to say the least, isn’t it,
hunting for worms and insects
who don’t want to be caught?
This morning it’s the idea of bait that
rises up to taunt me. I don’t know why.

At least the falling snow puts paid to
invertebrate slaughter for the moment
though it did not prevent me of thinking of
my grandfather
standing in a bait shop on its cool concrete floor
buying a bucket of squirming black shiny
fifty years ago.
Not in winter. I sigh.

The landscape I was watching whiten itself
whose cold stung my nose
even through the window glass
It was silent and watching me back. I stood
sock-feet-warm and sweater-wrapped
I remembered the saved-up grievances
the rude comments
the year full of them and all forgettable
Or not, as the case may be.
Discord. I breathed in its aroma. Bait.


4 thoughts on “Cast Out

  1. That’s a pretty unsettling metaphor – or maybe it just unsettled me because one of my earliest memories is of one of my older brothers dumping earthworms on my head. I think we may like to think that we avoid taking the bait by, for example, choosing not to respond to someone’s taunts but the fact we remember the grievance or it causes some internal upset means we have indeed been hooked.

    • The memory cited in the poem is a real one for me and I never liked going to the bait shop because I disliked the worms and also the idea that they would be eaten (my grandfather was an avid river fisherman so I knew the whole story). Somehow the worms, as much as I didn’t like them, going to their fate unknowing just kind of bothered me and I’ve never forgotten the feeling. So to me, being bait is being helpless way beyond helpless.

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