by Marshall Jamison

He was a tall man, proud, and at seventy-eight
The Judge, his eyes steel blue, held a steady gaze
As he looked down at me, he stood ramrod straight.
Without raising his voice he revealed my fate. To me,
It seemed a fair if severe one, at the age of eight.
My crime? The third grade teacher had reported to my
Mother my one day’s absence from his class. There,
When riding my new bike to school, I had eyed
In the rippling water under the river bridge, a truly enormous bass.
And as I told the Judge, the chance for such a
Magnificent catch drove all thoughts of proceeding to class to pass.
The Judge, who was himself a fisherman of note,
Had often taken me on the Delaware River in his old rowboat
So to the river I raced for my gear, pole, and bait.
After a long careful casting, an interminable wait,
The allure of my lures spelled that big bass’ fate.
My own, the judge decided would rest on my reply
To his wish for a piece of that magnificent, glorious fish to cook!
So supplied, with a grin, my grandfather let me
off the hook.