by Brad Garber

“Grab your drink.   Let’s go for a ride”

We walked down to the fishing boat
my dad and I, walleye and northern
ball-player doctor, runner attorney.

The sky was open and late slanting
small chop moving across the lake
we pulled away from the dock
the Evinrude leaving a plume behind.

Past “lily pad bay,” past the little island
across the ancient wakes of canoes
beaver dams, loons, the shallows
to the far side where the fish gut rock
was white with gull shit and bones…

until Dad cut the motor to trolling
speed along the bank, raised his glass

“This is where your Uncle Dick
and I spread Pops’s ashes. This was
his favorite place to fish.”

We took a drink of brandy in silence
and when I looked at the pained smile
of my father at the helm I saw a tear
as he passed the lesson of mortality
and the quiet fear of his own death
toward the bow of the boat like a baseball.

Brad Garber has published poetry in Cream City ReviewAlchemyFireweedUphook PressFrontRange ReviewSundog Lit, and elsewhere. He was nominated for a 2013 Pushcart Prize for his poem, “Where We May Be Found.”