Dad plans all day for what will be a one-hour trip,
gathering vest, hat, waders, net.
We drive our gear down the mountainside
to fish this Wild and Scenic River,
the Rio Grande.
“Where’s your pole?” Dad asks.
I hold up a bamboo pole (5 bucks at the gas station).
He frowns. “I’ll go help your mother.”
Fy-fishing is the only time Mom is quiet.
Dad arranges everything just so,
just the way she likes it.
The air is cool, but not
the midday sun. Mosquitoes
Me and my cheap pole can’t fish and I can’t
care as I stand in the freezing river, watch Mom
watch the water.
Dad watches her
cast her line despite the tumor deep in her eye
turning the waves sepia.
Still she is the first to spy
the cutthroat trout
darting right toward Dad.
He sets the hook. Keeps
the tension. Extends the net.
“Get the camera!” he yells.
I drop my pole, paw through Orvis bags but
Mom quotes Psalm 10:9
as if her Bible was open
beside the riverbank:
He catches the helpless and drags them off in his net.
Dad returns the trout to its home.
He will load up his flies again
but Mom will not.
The Good Lord will scoop her up
after this tumor connects with the others,
forms a net.
Dad will return to this river.
He will catch another cuttthroat
and he will let it go.