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Zachary Tyler Vickers 

Acutely Angled

A disembodied fisherman in limbo wandering the lake where he drowned, inebriated.

and I miss the tug of the rod the crank of the reel the stench of the algae the bob of my dinghy the piney taste of gin, but I don’t miss tangling up tipsy in the fishing net and slipping into the lake’s murky blackness where I swear that two hundred pound monster sturgeon swam right by me: bubbles burping chortling triumphantly as my lungs filled with plankton and my heart quit scratching and ticking like an insect trapped in the kitchen light fixture my wife Selma constantly nagged me to fix but I thirsted to fill the void in me with two hundred pounds of monster sturgeon proudly arched over the mantle, and I miss the first forty years of my life the lost second forty the forty foot creaky dock warped like the spine of an old woman, and I miss the flashes of fireflies at dusk while playing tackle football with my children, the flashes of leaping salmon at dawn while arranging my tackle box, and I miss painting Selma’s toenails, painting my lures, and I miss Selma’s slick tanned flesh as she skinny dipped in our pool late at night, the slick sandy scales of the monster sturgeon taunting me before dipping down into the fluid blackness, and I miss the infrequent intercourse of course with Selma casting and reeling my bobbing dangler, and I miss Selma’s once round stomach where I’d listen to my fetal children’s hearts strongly bating, baiting hooks with slippery night crawlers, and I miss Selma’s rare bubbly chortles and the prickly touch of those often unshaven legs I ached to kiss and cry against and leave my legacy in with teeth marks sometimes, and I even miss the hideous condemning vein in her taut neck, each vane of my dinghy’s purring propeller, and I do miss my wife’s beautiful bone structure that acutely angled skull of hers, the scullers gliding through the morning fog like wooden storks, and I miss the taste of scrambled eggs with fresh salmon, the late night scrambled pornography when Selma made up the couch for me, and I really miss my children and their photo refrigerator magnets and every bedtime story I can never read, the wind whistling through the shore reeds and my thinning unaccomplished hair, and I miss menthol cigarettes, the silhouette of Selma fluidly gliding past the couch I should’ve reached out for and stopped just once when she’d visit my nightmared children and lovingly gather them up under one blanket with her and I’d hear their whispers and her tired bubbly chortles, and I miss being involved in that blackness with them, and I won’t miss this chum heart and the endless casting of these threads dangling from my torso like pale soggy kelp until I reach that great Lake Erie in the sky, but I miss most of all being able to tell Selma and my children I’m sorry and they were my everything and how much I love—but wait here comes those slick sandy scales and I got you this time hook line and sinker and I cast another thread and stick my translucent face under the water and let the plankton fill my liquor bottle lungs and I hiccup a few minnows and this is now my everything, my head’s the biggest fish tank and I think I hear the bubbled chortling coming from somewhere in the blackness and I get the curse words ready in my mouth and then that silhouetted monster just glides right by, and I miss

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