Catfish dreams

Railway bridge

The earth sighs, heaves a breath,

rippling from Oregon to Idaho.

The train across the river rattles

like the lowing sounds of cattle

nuzzling at stainless steel at night.


In the cabin cool, the family murmurs,

rustles in nylon slick sleeping bags.

The dog yelps as one small foot kicks

in a dreaming swimmer’s turn.

The leaves of cottonwood hiss

like line cast from a spinning reel.


The moon trolls onward…


At the night’s edge the catfish dream too, laying

in the hollows between sunken logs and rocks,

silver fish hook earrings and monofilament necklaces

adorn their whiskered bodies, pole dancing to the tugging music.

Lazy eyes roll upward to the brown sky. They lollygag in mud blankets-



For the dreams to meet at the end

of a redhead boy’s fishing pole,

dipping and swaying, sinking slip bobbers,

hauling themselves out of the water,


To twitch once more upon baked earth

exhaling one last breath,

the stringer ran through their gills.


Death comes in dreams to catfish and little boys.


By Barbara A Meier


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