Tramp Harbor

We’d fished most of the evening
away
when I’d hooked the bottom
of the sound
straining on the line
cranked the big spinning reel
at each giving of pull
strained on the line
forearms bringing up
something…
giving way a weight
lifted off the bottom with each
successive pull
the line gave its monofilament
whine
as I pulled
straining upwards, the letting go &
pole dipping down
to reel in again,
then pull pole arcing upward a
weight of no live thing
coming to the top of the sound
rod bending hard and over
down and closer now
coming closer now,
the line with 2 blood knots now
tying three strands to
one, all bringing in
the end from the bottom,
comes closer now the weighted form
from the bottom,
as from the dock we saw stretching
through water hand like, from
forward lighting only
from Des Moines across this Puget Sound
three miles of light flicker shown, to light
a form piercing air now
hand like with body following
in dim reflected light
we’d joked about a body,
& now we were silent as up through a slack tide
came a small water drowned entire alder tree
with all its branches.
perhaps, that had fallen from
a cliff off Portage
& had rolled with the tide til then
the “bite’ was off
we packed our gear away,
stacked lifeless fish into a bucket
& left the darkness,
later my friend wrote a poem
about what it might have been,
it all stayed inside me a week
when it was, I knew why, as
it had been how my father was  found.

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