Snapper Hooks

Cracking backwards

through moss dollop pools, 

heeding the push from 

undercurrents and trapped air, 

my father dips at the waist. 

Sun rays, how they pass through water, 

how they drag a brush over 

a turtle’s shell and paint algae in ribbons 

on the scutes of a stranger

my father lifts to show me.

Every turtle a snapping turtle – 

carnivores, “spiked sons-a-bitches” 

edged mob bosses of Shutes Branch, 

pierced skin and porous sag – 

my father cradles pliers. 

As humidity threatens to collapse 

over the bridge, 

inching towards ragged carapaces 

and wordless carp,  

my father allows his wrist to twitch. 

NOVUS Literary and Arts Journal
Lebanon, TN