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Bobber

 On the Columbia River near Vantage, 
Washington, we fished for whitefish 
in the winter months; my dad, Swede- 
Mr.
Lindgren-and me.
They used belly-reels, pencil-length sinkers, red, yellow, or brown flies baited with maggots.
They wanted distance and went clear out there to the edge of the riffle.
I fished near shore with a quill bobber and a cane pole.
My dad kept his maggots alive and warm under his lower lip.
Mr.
Lindgren didn't drink.
I liked him better than my dad for a time.
He lets me steer his car, teased me about my name "Junior," and said one day I'd grow into a fine man, remember all this, and fish with my own son.
But my dad was right.
I mean he kept silent and looked into the river, worked his tongue, like a thought, behind the bait.

Poem by Raymond Carver
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