Fishing with My Father

In Colorado, at Call of the Canyon,
we fished for rainbow trout
which my Grandma would
skin and debone, bread and fry
in a cast iron skillet.

When my father dies,
I want to take him back
to those sweet-rushing streams,
so his ashes can mix with the
clear water pouring over
smooth rocks in the channel.

And just as a stream
sometimes overflows its banks,
my father, in his future form,
will leave the edges of
his skin and swim elsewhere.

I want to return to the log cabin,
light a kerosene lamp,
read an Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine,
pray hard enough to bring my young father
back to me, just like he was, forever.

I want the waters to wash over me, too,
to hear their rock-borne music endlessly
so that the stuff we are made of
tumbles in the water’s easy flow,
each cell a fish-shaped flash
of silvery blue green with broad red stripe,
slipping through the current,
teasing the hook and line of my heart.

Originally published in Life and Legend (2015) and Letting Rain Have Its Say (Kelsay Books 2018)

Donna Baier Stein

At Duck I Am As Tired As The World
First Breaths