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Cheyenne Taylor

BPR 48 | 2021

"Everyone says he knows what a beetle is, only by looking at his beetle.” —Ludwig Wittgenstein

You say there is no pain for channel cats
and show me how to pierce a chicken liver
on a hook. I palm that dark slip, little clot
impossibly animal, ready to bruise the river.
The thrill is human: luring something other
to the treeline, muscle sport. We haul in five
before the evening sips the day’s last color—
those swimming tongues go quiet in the light.
You gut them on the tailgate, gills sucking
nothing. If pain is a beetle, shut in a box
of matches, what are grubworms? Just good bait.
You toss the fresh-dressed cats into a bucket
where they blink without their bodies at the shock
of sky. Dusk gathers where we congregate.