Bait

Albert came up from the beach
24 razor clams in his bucket
rinsed off sand and salt
left his wet boots shovel outside
came into the kitchen

Anna woke up with the sun
already boiling coffee scrambling eggs
slicing bread for toast
butter, fresh blackberry jam, on the table
ready

he put the clams in the sink
she pried open their shells
cut off their necks
egg-flour battered them
then in the pan for a few seconds

necks went in a bowl
near the sink,
when the tide turned
he would go back to the beach
with fishing gear and the necks

most of the time
he took me with him
I carried the bait bag,
across the dry sand
short legs struggling to keep up

I watched his magic
fashioning tiny knots
fixing leaders to swivels,
to weights, to the hook,
finally the reel line

then securing clam necks
to the hook for bait
casting to spaces between the waves
offering food to fish
disguising his deception

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