The Fisherman

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A kerplunk did rupture the atmosphere, once. Unfurled like a velvet spool and dove its echo into my ears. Its arc was fine and lovely and casted out onto the river’s smooth, cool face. Beneath the whispering oaks, we were three fisherman silhouetted against the amber rose sun.

How do I describe the music of morning? Poetry escapes me like catfish from a line. The river breathed husky against the wet sky. Its breath hovered like steam above a mug’s gaping mouth. Do I talk of the wild on just the other side- how it was fevered- always growing, stretching on in a dull, green tangle?

How do I tell you that in that space just after dawn, I was jealous of my sister as she drew her rod back behind her? Everyone always said she had the most whispers of you. She wore your hands and easiness, unstudied charm smeared across her in hasty, imperfect swoops. The deftness with which she detached a hook from a fish’s lip; even that was admirable.

Girls, we wear our mothers like crowns, precious & jeweled. But fathers are our first and most innocent of loves. We keep them tied tightly to us, schooners forever docked close by a multifarious knot.

By the murky water, sat me, rod and reel-less (books were the only bait I was ever hungry for) with crumbs of sleep charring my eyes. Beneath my feet, tree roots held the bank gently and my bones cracked a little to think of Time, to think of our corner of the river as finite. Which is why, even as a child, I knew that I must snatch, take, grab in handfuls this most precious life in which I found myself made of the same old, new blood as you.

My father:

Can we sit and talk a little?

Can we stop and listen much?

Can we fish in quiet for an infinite while?