in memory of my father 3/22/29-11/26/03

Shoving Off

Aside from a good way
for a man to kill time,
what else could fishing be for
if not for a boy to study
his father’s hands?

Twisting a line to thread
the eye of a lure, it’s easier
for a rich man to fish
than it is for him to find
the doorway to heaven.

Snapping leaders, tying flies,
untangling snags, managing
a landing in front of boys
who are pleased to know
what their elder can handle:

if not a plow or a flywheel
or a leg on a lathe, at least
monofilament and a couple
of split-shots to punctuate
line above a silver spoon.

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