Traps

The spud keyed up the ice

like Tec was trying to chip

flakes into his lemonade.

That’s pretty fucking deep

right there, he massaged

from cheeks taut

with the cracked

shake of trees

unchewed: not much

but jagged beeches,

stretching their necks

against the settling

cut of cold.

 

He stepped slow

through the flat snow,

enough to cover the leaded gouge

of the spud.

 

Gotta cut some poles,

he said, kicking a clean chew astray.

That’s a big house.

He fingered the painted hatchet.

 

His hole echoed across the

whited bog—long enough to get

the dead-spruce poles down,

wide enough to get

a fifty pounder up. Diving

his hand and wrist and arm

into the black,

it came back crystalized.

 

Right there—that’s the channel to

the feed bed over there,

a snapped stick lump

large enough for four.

 

Tec pinched the springs in place,

strapped those to the poles.

Using a three-thirty here,

a blind set here.

Tec rapped on smiling

green splint sticks

in his oiled pack basket.

This here popple

is candy to them.

He wired a chunk

to the wiley trigger.

 

The ice moaned deep and low,

the pins, the masses

leaned in, stared.

 

Tec sets the toothless jaw wide,

a gummy smile of rust,

it slips into the water,

nestles aside the muck.