My earliest memory of my father
is of him teaching me how to gut
a catfish. I didn’t like how evisceration
by swiss army knife sounded just like
puke hitting pavement, so instead I scooped
two worms out of their container
and dropped them with a pang
onto the boat’s metal seats, anticipating
their fall with dirt under my nails.
I wanted them to race. I gave them
names: Wormy and Slim. It might
as well have been ancient Rome.
I cupped my hands around them
so they’d wiggle in a straight line.
The water’s mist masked the unforgiving
sun. They shrunk sluggishly enough
for me not to notice. When my dad
found out, he tossed them into
the shimmering lake, wiping red
hands on his white t-shirt.
About the Author: Daryl Sznyter received her MFA in poetry from The New School. Previous and forthcoming publications include Panoply, The Meadow, Belletrist, Bluestem Magazine, Freshwater Literary Journal, Sandy River Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and others. She currently resides in small-town Pennsylvania.