It is late afternoon, slack tide;
the best time to go crabbing is when the current
isn’t tumbling them along the bottom like river cobbles.
We bait the crab rings with frozen salmon heads,
gassed up the boat and head out.
The orange sticks of the sun
stabbing through the bay
leaving a bright cloth
to ride out on.
From Neakahnie mountain, our boat
is a speckle on an appaloosa pony,
hills walking alongside.
A load of crab comes up near the bow of the boat,
the small ones scrambling for dear life,
the big ones content to ride their luck.
The bay tilts up as the boat wobbles.
I steady it with my legs and grab the keepers
with leather-gloved hands, tossing the rest
over the side.
On days when the salt spray in my mind covers my best ideas
with a brine that mottles them all green alike,
I turn to see if there are any boats heading out on the bay.