Thursday, August 30, 2018
LIFE LINE. by Chani Zwibel
My father took
my sister and I fishing
and never complained of getting daughters
instead of sons,
we must find a tree
somewhere on the riverbank.
(We are not boys
and cannot just stand up
to go pee outside.)
We always stopped
at the bait shop run
by two nice old people
who always gave us suckers,
the tart kind with the bubblegum inside.
Dad gets the meal worms
in a Styrofoam cup full of dirt.
He jokes “YUM”,
as we question the container’s contents.
On the bank of the Youghiogheny,
Dad shows us how to know a fish is on the line
when the bright bobber sinks.
We catch the little fish.
They swirl around in the last sloshes
of river water in a bucket.
He says they are too small;
He unhooks them gently and releases them
back to the green brown depths
to wait for next time
While we wait for bigger fish to bite,
we play dinosaurs.
I like to imagine the plastic Brontosaurus
placed on a flat rock,
up to his neck in shallow water,
staring out on a primordial scene.
Dad never seemed to mind in the inconvenience
of me or my sister or our toys.
Girls can learn a fisherman’s philosophy just the same.
Dreams are down there,
last small puddles in the fish bucket.
Small fish are free,
even though the dreams are not free,
any more than the bobber is free from the line.
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