With a couple of green apples stowed
in his t-shirt, a fishpole, can of red worms,
he bounced over washboard backroads
until the gravel ended. Where his rusty bike
under cover of goldenrod and raspberry thickets
would nap the afternoon while he pushed on
along the cow path, through bowed heads
of timothy nodding to the whims of every significant
breeze, down into the cattails below groves
of birches, sunlight quaking in the fragile
palm of each silvered leaf. I follow
him the last few yards of dogwood jungle
again this morning because I never could invent
a more perfect way to lose a cloudless day.
Inside the glass of this conference-center highrise,
I suffer a curious lack of concern
in the serious business of our adult lives.
Cover for me, please, if the boss should notice
how I smile at the oddest moment,
our poor ledger sheet sagging with gloom.
I know how the river still flows past sloughs
of spawn. I can almost taste the green
of those fresh-picked apples. So why worry
over my empty pockets? I'll steal off with the boy
who runs beside me. I'll string a willow reed
with a hundred bluegills, before I leave this room.
* * * * *
"Gone Fishin'" appears in his 2008 publication, Suddenly, Out of a Long Sleep. He has published many books of poems, including his most recent, WE (2010), and he has edited anthologies of both Montana and western poetry.