Big Fish Territory by Cody Shrum

GusThe swollen stars spoke
to one another in bright whispers
above our boat so the planets
wouldn’t hear.

Dad’s breath rose and joined
mine in wind that stole it,
wind cold as water
churning at the bottom of the lake.

The green-tipped tail
of a shooting star falling toward
Earth, yearning to touch
rich Kansas soil, bloomed
bright, and I pointed.

We smiled, still hushed
by the planets when my pole
bent half-over and our boat
nearly tipped into the shining
image of stars
bouncing on water.

The belly of our boat thrashed
against the blurred reflection
of stars on waves.
Bait jumped and splashed
in the sliding bucket.

Our boat, everything in it,
converged to meet
the pale-finned body
rising from the furious lake.



Cody Shrum is a second-year graduate student at Pittsburg State University, studying Creative Writing with an emphasis in fiction. Cody plans to pursue his MFA degree next fall—an adventure he will embark on with his wife, Kylee, and their two dogs, Zoey and Zeus.

Guest Editor: Roy Beckemeyer is from Wichita, Kansas. His poems have recently appeared in The Midwest Quarterly, Kansas City Voices, The North Dakota Review, and I-70 Review. Two of his poems were nominated for the 2016 Pushcart Prize competition. His debut collection of poems, “Music I Once Could Dance To,” published in 2014 by Coal City Review and Press, was selected as a 2015 Kansas Notable Book by the State Library of Kansas and the Kansas Center for the Book.



7 thoughts on “Big Fish Territory by Cody Shrum

    • Patricia, thank you so much! Such kind words–I really appreciate it! “The magic at the heart of ordinary experience”–I feel like that’s what I aim to illuminate in all my work, so I’m glad it’s evident and that you enjoyed it!

    • Thanks Dr. Meats!! A Steve Meats stamp of approval means I’m doing something right! Thanks again and I’m glad you enjoyed it! You’ll have to let me know when you’ll be up this way again–I hope all is well down in Florida!

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