Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Glenn Brooke (1984)

A fisherman, Howard goes down to the Ohio River
every day; there is nothing else.
He cuts a fresh willow rod, and settles himself
by the same muddy pool below the B&O tracks,
on his usual knob of damp slate.

Howard never baits his hook. He waits.
He looks at the dimple where his twill line
disappears into the brown water,
hardly looking up or down or away.
"Tis enough," he says.

My mother says Howard is crazy;
our preacher, who has prayed earnestly,
says Howard is the greatest fisherman in the world.
We accept Howard with the patience of farmers,
with the faith of great depths in rivers.

Howard has never caught a fish.
There, in his cord coat and patch cap,
he endures season upon season, the comings and goings
of barges and children, and the backwater fogs
drifting in and out, like doubts, like legends.

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