Bait Shop (Minnesota, 1970)

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Been thinking about those things that separate us, one from the other, and the imaginative leaps that connect us. And fish.

Bait Shop (Minnesota, 1970)

a whole mess of them in a tight bundle
unravel and flutter, searching
for a meal under the cold water
that fills a handmade concrete basin.
In a wooden box,
worms lie in rich darkness
under mouldering newspaper,
beneath a fluorescent light
that hangs from a chain.
Even at 10, I had begun to see that
while I lived most of my life
on the familiar side, in the sun and the wind,
there was much that lived
in the unseen and barely imagined;
that even a small garage
along a dirt road in northern Minnesota
hid secret knowledge
of what happens beneath;
that like the old fisherman who shuffled
from his house to the shop
when I opened the door,
a guy could spend a lifetime
learning to see
beneath the surface.

— Steve Peterson

Published by

Steve Peterson

I teach fifth grade in Iowa.

2 thoughts on “Bait Shop (Minnesota, 1970)”

    1. Yes! Still remember the smell and sounds of that small bait shop, and the old guy who knew so much about the fish that lived beneath the surface. It had one of those contraptions that must have rung a bell in the house, or the old man noticed the cars coming in and went out to greet them.

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