the belief was eels were male catfish,
believe if you leave a fried one alone
return to red-raw meat, or a trickle
trail of blood and crumb, a resurrection
dripping at the screen door.
some southerners convinced eels love
human bait, became fishers o’ men.
stories tell of a great catch on the low, white
river. account goes a black girl, murdered,
stoked the pearly water for two straight nights.
callous men craft superstition retroactively
then bleed it into dough balls and haul a folk-load
of long fish from the leavened river. peace
officers never broke a flatbed full of gruesome
men or catfish gorged on scabby biscuits.
if it was a dream, borne darkly, who sleeps?