BRANDON’S END

for Neil Surkan

Me and Steve crossed the water with our improvised line
using beer tabs as hooks, leftover sausage as bait—that salty shit
we couldn’t finish the first night, not even Doug 
who threw his into the fire before everyone else, something souring 
when I offered him the rest of mine. I’m not your garbage disposal, he said
disappearing into the bush. Someone said the box was about to go off
—it might have been me. Soon we heard its echo.
There he goes, I said, as it trumpeted, grinding it up.
As the water rocked us Steve told me about his engagement,
how Karly had posted the video on Facebook, how it had got 
two hundred and fifty likes. On the island next to ours 
a woman kicked in the water. Throw her some sausage, I said—
Steve only laughed. I tried to get the canoe closer
to see if we couldn’t hook some part of her, but Steve steered us away.
Doug was standing out by the shore when we got closer
in one of his moods. Catch anything? he asked us, over the lake.
Do you seriously have any room left? I asked him, still pissed
that he had polished off the chips that morning.
How red his face got when he lifted the rock
crying that if we came any closer he’d sink us—I just made a whirring noise
like a trash compactor choking on bone. Steve laughed as 
Doug heaved the large grey stone towards us, slipping
through the air—it’s hard to dodge when you’re out on the water 
hard to miss the shale as it slaps into your side

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