Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bait Shop

artwork: lucha (marie skrobot)

Bait Shop
by Jude Genereaux

You know that smell the minute
you walk in
know you’ve been there
reached back and arrived again
The old bait shop, milk & bread store
at the four corners by the water.

Could be up there at Walloon Lake where
Old Hem hung out on his way 
north to the Big Two Hearted or the
one in Baileys on the harbor
- any hundred others on the Brule, the U.P.
Up North Wisconsin, Michigan
smells the same

and you’re 10 again
waiting for Dad to take you out in that old row boat
one with the slats in the bottom, sloshing water
a can of worms in your hand
waiting at Uncle Hank’s dock
morning mist steaming off Horsehead Lake.

The cheap wooden screen door Bang!
slams behind you
bakery wrapped in cellophane,
bags of chips & donuts beckon.
“Indian” souvenirs - birch bark canoes & 
sweetgrass baskets, an ice chest full of soda pop, all
For Sale, next to post cards of black bear & trout

and the over-riding scent of old wood, damp
musty closed-for-the-winter stored stuff & mildew
overpowers all else
as you walk back through the door
to summers gone and memories
of when you were ten.

~ first published in the Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar