Sheryl L. Nelms

it was dough balls

and stink bait

mixed days


then we had to wait

for the night

of the full


we’d go at dusk

to Lake Afton

spread out Grandma’s old quilt

bait the hooks

loft them out

set the tensions and wait

in the darkening July night

with the water-cooled breeze

chattering the cottonwood leaves

we would listen

for the whine of a reel

or the flop of a giant cat

as the cicadas packed seventeen years of buzz

into one blitz

and late in the night we would eat

white bread sandwiches

of cheddar cheese and mustard

and I would squint

at the moon-rippled water

from my spot

between Mom

and Dad

and imagine

my life

Sheryl L. Nelms is from Marysville, Kansas. She graduated from South Dakota State University in Family Relations and Child Development. She has had over 5,000 articles, stories and poems published, including fourteen individual collections of her poems. She is the fiction/nonfiction editor of THE PEN WOMAN MAGAZINE, the publication of the National League of American Pen Women.

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