Friday, May 12, 2017

May 12: Coho Salmon, James Scannell McCormick, "Fish"

I have a Michigan poem from my friend Scannnell for tonight.  It's about fishing.

I have never been much of an outdoor sportsperson.  Unlike most native males from the Upper Peninsula, I have only gone deer hunting once in my life.   Didn't shoot anything.  Instead, I sat on a tree stump and ate M&Ms.  However, I used to go fishing quite a bit with my brother when I was a kid.

The largest fish I ever caught was a 28-inch coho salmon, and it was a complete accident.  I was about twelve-years-old, and my brother put a red worm on my hook and told me to cast it into the river while he went back to the truck for some serious tackle and bait.  Seconds later, there was a flash of silver and a tremendous splash.  My line started screaming out from my reel.  I yanked back hard on the rod, setting the hook in the great fish's mouth.  Then I yanked back again.

The salmon came sailing out of the water, landing on the rocks in front of me, where it began smacking and flailing its way back to the water.  I was terrified.  My brother was quickly on the rocks, cornering my prize.  I took it home, got my picture taken with it, and never saw it again.

That's the only really good fishing story Saint Marty has.


by:  James Scannell McCormick

To the "Michigan Fish Poets"

When I was a little boy I went down to
Big Bay beach, where two older boys, shirtless, were up
To their thighs in water, and they were catching smelt
With their hands, then holding them flat on the concrete
Jetty, where, for fun, they poked out the fishes' eyes
With linden sticks and threw the fish back in again,
And the fish weren't hovering like bullets in gunmetal blue
Stasis, or mouthing prayers, but thick tear-tracks of blood
Followed their pain-curling bodies in the bone-cold water.
Which is why, believe me, I, too, know about fish.

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