On a rock-strewn bank of Buffalo,
by Keith E. Sparks Jr.
a spinner's cast from Hollow Tree,
I sit, rod propped on a locust limb,
pilfered from a beaver's domain
and watch the fallen leaf
that drifts where line and water meet,
catch briefly in a twitch of false triumph.
No man, It's a bite!
I know the difference.
A gentle tug of line—released,
it makes way for swifter waters
where stream and creek combine
just below a farmer's bridge.
Hats in hand to shield the eyes,
together, two boys peer over the side.
Loser does the cleaning!
Nostalgic, I check bait, readjust tension,
take ease, and smile as the pole's tip
dances tango with the current
when a grating squawk draws my gaze
to a distant screen of cattails that sway
in a sudden wind
revealing a heron hunting a meal
across the way.
With a quizzical twist, it eyes its prey.
There! Two of’ em—
gold as gold can be—
A proud head plunges
and comes up empty
with a quizzical twist
And I, with a resigned sigh,
gaze upon the Ultra-Lite resting at my side.
Honest, Ed, I tried to catch it
but it zoomed off the dock while I was taking a...
“Yeah, I tried too, but
it’s just not the same.”
Aimless, I collect tackle and gear
and bid old friends’ farewell.
Grab the weathered pole,
finally bouncing, and snap the line
heedless of the prize.
Eddie caught a whopper, Dad,
long as my arm—
you should have seen it.
Tears torment a long ride home,
stains upon a shirtsleeve,
mourning fishing equipment
Two to ten
Take care of my kids, Ed,
and please promise me
they'll get to do things...
Pulling into the drive,
two boys stand side by side
blowing dandelions in the breeze.
I gaze at the tackle, granting pardon.
I promise, Chris,