For Poets United Poetry Pantry #153
Fishing For Memories
Sometimes think I remember too much.
Sixty years plus is a mountain of memories,
each one a small stone, or huge boulder.
Getting older makes it worse.
Sometimes curse the flow
on those days when I want to look back
and can’t seem to catch anything
but shadows slipping through doors
closed tight with locked latches.
What I remember most fondly is going fishing
with my father. Cool morning mist dissipating
slowly, like soft sensuous dream disintegrating
at awakening. Silence that wasn’t really silent:
water lapping, birds chanting morning prayers,
fish jumping for flying insects then dropping back
to gently plop, leaving only an echo of ringed ripples at surface.
Threading hook with live crawlers
caught the night before with bare fingers
at edge of flashlight beam
(had to be quick or they’d slip back into darkness).
Letting the line down until it hit bottom
then reeling it up a bit so bait
would move with current, look enticing to perch
feeding in weeds.
Smell of dad’s cigarette drifting through air
not many words shared, some quiet teasing
about who would catch first one,
the biggest, the most.
Long ride back from Sturgeon Bay or some other direction.
Didn’t make much difference, I was willing to go wherever he led me.
He didn’t make demands that I be a certain way,
dress in a certain fashion
not be quite so passionate about things.
Coming home with a pail full of perch,
silently watching him clean them, helping
where I could, taking my turn at scraping, cutting and gutting.
Hardest part might have been moving back into that world of others,
mother and siblings, having to share him again.
Elizabeth Crawford 6/10/13