Guest Poet Twyla Turnbow Sorrells

Fishing Without A License

On a crisp moonlit winter evening,
He sat on the banks of the Brazos,
The marsh rock hard from the freeze
The night before.

He held a long cane pole, longer than most,
And told of the catches he'd seen before
As he baited his hook.

He sat for hours, feeling the tug on his line
As the snared trophy beneath the murky surface
Struggled for freedom -- for life.

And I looked him in the eye, as I asked him
"Why don't you reel it in, it looks like a keeper to me?"
He answered with a tear in his eye,
"I need time."

Well, time is certainly cheap, so I patiently waited,
Watching him move with deliberate effort,
Sleepily holding his rod in his hand
Until the sun first peered over the river banks.

Then he let the catch drift downstream,
Cane pole, bait and all
I asked him why he did such a thing,
And all he would say is "I'm sorry."

November, 1997

Twyla Turnbow Sorrells's Questions:

This is supposed to be an extended metaphor. Did it come across as such? Do the "suggestive" innuendoes come through? If not, how can I make it more obvious without being too blatant? Should there be more assonance/consonance? Is the punctuation overdone?

Correspond with Twyla Turnbow Sorrells at
with your ideas about this poem.

The Albany Poetry Workshop