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My father casts a line, three colors deep,
and trolls. It's cold. I zip my coat
up to my chin, think how I could be asleep
but here we are, a part of the fact.
We are waiting for something to catch.
We are trying. He's grown older, my father,
his face an echo. The insects hatch:
they live to mate, mate to die. Down further
from us, a tree has given over
and slumps in the water, the river floor
a city of decomposed trees. The motor
chokes, the line tugs, I pull and pull more.
An afterlife? The splake jerks its head,
slaps the boat's bench even after it's dead.

Jacques J. Rancourt

Pleiades Press

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