She Wants to Catch a Turtle

There she stood with the fishing rod and the shoulder tattoo (outside Pana, IL)

I rode the mules over the hill and there she stood on the bridge holding a fishing rod. She and the star tattoos on her shoulders and a man and a boy drowning small worms on big hooks in a shallow creek.
I asked, “are you catching anything?”
She said, “he caught one” and pointed to her son.
Then she said, “I really want to catch a turtle.”
I wondered about that all day. Why would a woman with stars tattooed on her shoulders want to catch a turtle instead of a blue gill?
I should have asked her and now I’ll never know.


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[…] I think of all the people it’s carried me to, from the Chicken Slat Man to the Turtle Lady. I think of how Wyoming sage brush country smells after the rain and the rush of getting a police […]

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