a boy I know teaches me how to noodle for catfish
I tell him that his face is an octopus, just like the one nursing my ankle, except like hell he would ever find someone to make out with. Not even an ankle would want to get near a face like his except to kick it. This is the seventeenth time I’ve told him so, one for every year he’s been alive. I have no regrets. I think I love this boy, and when you love someone the best thing to do is fake hate them until they almost believe you. The finger he flips me is a squawk of an insult jumping off the crest of a breeze and so practiced it’s perfect. Maybe he also loves me just as much as I love him and this will remain unsaid forever even if we drown here today in six inches of water even if they find our bodies in the split lip of the river with his hand in mine. It would be so embarrassing but at least we’d be dead. If we died here today, where would they bury us? I point to a hole in the sand. In here? Catfish lay eggs in those holes, he tells me and they sleep in there too. So no. He chews on the sticky licorice of a pause. Stupid, he finally says. On the count of three we burrow our arms elbow-deep into the mud and the sky opens underfoot, a flurry of catfish, sand and sea smacking us around until we are two soaked through with God’s wrath. I know He’s screaming I’m sick of you two. Behind us the sun winks down, sugaring the trees with grapefruit light and the half-baked rind of a moon.
Melissa Anne currently lives in the DC metro area. Her poetry and fiction have been recognized by several publications and organizations, including Rust + Moth, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, FreezeRay Poetry, Yuzu Press, The Adroit Journal, and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.