Aunt Pauline at 83

Teresa McLamb Blackmon

She fishes for a living,
finds her wallowed spot on the pond dam,
squirms her legs to the place
they fit down the bank.
She sits right on the edge, a little sprite,
as if the pond is there because of her.
With her a cane pole, catawba worms, and
resolve as big as any yellow cat she’ll catch.

We look out our comfortable window and wonder
how she stays put, hooking bass and bream
one after another,
breaking her line, repairing it,
sipping ice water from a quart jar
in a cooler shared with chilled bait.
She just waits for the nibble, the bite—
no worry that one might get away.
There is a reckoning. Some are baited, some
turn away. Only a few will be fit to keep.
She fishes for a living, throws the line as far
as she can and holds onto it,
satisfied with the pull that keeps her alive.


Teresa McLamb Blackmon is a Media/Technology Coordinator in North Carolina. Earlier in her career, she taught high school English and Yearbook Journalism. She graduated from NCSU in 1984 with a MA in English and is an avid Wolfpack fan. Teresa lives on a farm with her husband and their four-legged babies, including dogs, miniature donkeys, horses, Brahma bulls, goats, and sheep. Her writing is an attempt to capture people and places who shaped her life and her drive to create poetry. She has had poems published in Absinthe, The News & Observer and various local newspapers and community publications. E-mail: teachasso[at]

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