On the Line

by Tina Puckett

Trees were thick with the wet smell of maple.
Their shadows laced into water,
where dark stones dotted the incline
to river-rusted railroad tracks
and their flattened, rounded sheen
that seamed the land.
The river was a green-brown agate
rolled out by the crying train cars.
Bluegill bobbed toward my hook
and the worm that clung like a pale vine
around its cold glinting metal,
then the jerk and pull and wild spin,
the useless somersaults between swirl and flight.
I’d catch the wide-eyed, blue-green sheen,
throw it back, and watch it zigzag
down to the muddy bottom,
worm curled softly in its belly.
When the train pushed past,
that heavy slowness shrugged
through a darkened tunnel.
A bullfrog gulped his words
and mourned silence with a quiet moan.
The cattails, teased in the breeze,
spilled their insides like a busted summer,
a weeping tunnel wail.

Tina Puckett is a graduate student of the Northeast Ohio MFA (NEOMFA) program with a concentration in Poetry. She has appeared or is forthcoming in Phoebe (SUNY), epitome, MUSE, The Listening Eye, Nexus, and The Penguin Review amongst other publications. She currently has a poem exhibited in The Wick Poetry Center’s “Speak Peace” Traveling Exhibition.  Her most recent chapbook is Crushed Sunlight from Spare Change Press. Tina has also served as editor of the Standing Rock Cultural Arts Rock in the River Literary Series and Canto for Kent State University at Stark.

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