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Torch Lake III - Fishing for Time

Our boat is first to slice The green snake skin of Clam Lake This Saturday morning in May Heading east to the mouth of Grass River Where angry Pike still hunt from shallows Before the Milfoil grows to summer impossible My son at the wheel His long hair a wake of curls behind his engine grin Fishing poles battering the back of the boat Like drum sticks rim-shotting our improvised wind The boy recently told me He had a hard time understanding Why his good years should be wasted On school and work “Leave that for the bad years.” He said “When time doesn’t matter so much And the good times are done. I think we’ve got everything reversed. I won’t need that much.” We pass a checkerboard of black and brown cows Squared on a sunlit board of grass A meadow mooing For the next big move by a studying sky Leaning on its cotton elbows We slick-skid to a stop at our favorite spot. Here, we barely breathe Silhouettes casting our splashes of jewelry To the neck of our reflections. A yodeling Loon guards its raft-nest next to us And a swan flies from the river Returning to its mate and Cygnets Wings beating like brooms Against the lingering fog of hanging sheets Commotion The Loon and swans Bawl and yawp slapping the water Their babies scatter A Bald Eagle With the tips of its flapping wings Bending like human wrists Mimicking the mimickers on how to fly Soars from nowhere at lake level eye Talons ripping the surface Misses its prey Ascends a hill With a glance back from its great white head Disappears. “Did you see that!” “Lucky.” “Depends on your perspective.” A Pike hits my Rapala Dives down to the bottom like a cut-loose anchor Very exciting! As my wrists and shoulders bend and struggle “You work so hard, dad, get it!” Wish the fish had hit my son’s offering Instead My son grabs the net laughing We land the razor-toothed fish, he’s big And my son works hard To untangle the creature the blood and its lure From the soaking knot of lacework Says, “Hold that Pike up I’ll take a picture!” “No time” I say “It’s hurt. Let’s get it back to water.” So my boy revives the fish Aside the boat by its slimy tail Gently pushing and pulling filling its gills with water Takes awhile We wait and see Then the fish flinches and fans its fins Slipping like a ring from my boy’s hand Released Back to the blueberry dream of its day.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2021




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