Down in Little Dixie, near a creek
that feeds into the Red River. Heard
from an old black man buying snuff
and worms in a store off 70 east
of Hugo. He’d bought a used Chevy
from my dad. “You bring a pole, some
worms,” he said. “Bream big
as a logger’s hand. ‘Cept one thing…”
Uh oh, always something. “What?”
“There’s a spit at the mouth of the
creek, where it feeds into the river.
Them bream, they bite best there….
‘Cept you got to bring a .22 pistol.”
I felt my skin crawl, knowing what
might come next. My biggest fear.
“There’s a hole, a little bunker.
Mud and wet sand. You can see
snake tracks. Found my cat, dead
there. Moccasin, or copperhead.”
I weighed that against the aroma
of fried crappie and bream,
cornbread and okra. You make
“Bring a .22 and kill that sonsabitch,”
he said, “Maybe catch him sunnin’
hisself. I never could.”