An Illustration of a Watermelon

A Sunday in June

It was a watermelon Sunday.
The wind took our seeds like a morning lover.
The breeze was good. The flies were sleeping
peacefully beside the mosquitos. The fish
were dreaming fish dreams on the river bed.
The Hatfield’s brought the mint leaves.
The McCoy’s the cream. Everything
was churning green. We let our poles reach out.
We got our feet muddy and wet. We let our
bobbers go bobbin’. We could care less
nothing was bitin’.

And now we were ready to slide under cool sheets.
And slip into the rhythm of the happy droning generators.
When one started to whine. The one that always does.
Just when we were about to doze off. I said to my wife
‘There it goes again. I wish it would stop.’ She said
‘It’s ok. It will. It always does.’ And it did.

But only til we’d almost fallen asleep again.
Then it started back louder. Soundin’ more
and more like someone in pain. ‘I can’t
take it anymore. It’s mockin’us. It’s like
the damn thing wants to be human. I’m going
to go out and put it out of its misery.’

But the sound cast its spell. The sound played
tricks. We were putting the green rinds into a bag.
Turning to leave. When the fish struck back.
They’d somehow managed to hook us.
And pull us in with them with one great fish tug.
I went under. There was nothing I could do.
I may have hit my head on something discarded in 1982.

The clerk was saying ‘You’ve got to have a license.
To fish in these parts.’ ‘Ok. Yes. Yes. Give me one.’
‘And a shotgun. You must have a shotgun. In these parts.’
‘What? I don’t want a shotgun. I don’t want to hurt anything.’
‘But you’ll see. What if the machines want to be human?’

I was walking towards the squealing, crying generator.
Waving not a shotgun but a child’s fishing pole.
When the machine’s shrill whine turned to a laugh.
‘It’s ok.’ The machine said, ‘Tomorrow. We’ll
exchange places.’ ‘Now, sleep child. Sleep well tonight.’
And the fish too must’ve figured we’d had enough.
They were wise and merciful. And threw us back.

©2007 by Ray Sweatman

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