The Kid Goes Fishing


I hunker down in the rowboat
as my father nudges it away from shore,
steps on board, plumps himself between oars,
all in one motion.

A life-jacket presses to my chest.
It was the only one my size.
He begins to slowly crank the wooden blades
through fields of lily pads.

I’m silent,
content to listen to the ripple swish,
the squeak of socket.
We’re never far from shoreline.
I see houses through the trees,
and roads and traffic.
But perceptions change in a liquid world.
Close is far.
Commonplace is unreal.
Where my father parked the car
is like a movie on a screen.

We come to weed beds
where fish gather.
Now it’s my turn.
He holds fast like an anchor
while I drop my line.
I’m six years old.
Can’t write my name on paper
but I can in water.


Drawing of fishing boat on water seen from above

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Front Range Review, Studio One and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Naugatuck River Review, Abyss and Apex and Midwest Quarterly.
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