Green Hills Literary Lantern

Fishing With My Father


Up at dawn, the Model T packed with Hires Root

Beer and a case of Oly, sandwiches wrapped

in waxed paper, a slice of pie each, and two apples,

we’re off for the lake to rent a boat and row out

to our favorite fishing holes.  The lake was a valley


where trees lined Kapowsin Creek when Dad was a boy. 

A dam built downstream changed all that.  They built

a new town named Electron because a plant generating

electricity was built there.  That’s why we guide our

boat over the tips of trees standing beneath the surface


and logs so drenched with water they are more sponge

than timbers.  We go among them like skilled Eskimos

guiding our kayaks between the treacherous ice and giant

whales. We will talk about many things - what working

in the mines was like, pranks he played on school chums,


his favorite childhood toys, how he met my mother,

and his feelings about Republicans.  I will talk about new

stamps in my collection or the foreign coin that came

in the cereal box that week, and why we both like

Edward G. Robinson better than John Wayne.  We will


agree about things, and for reasons I have never understood,

he will show some pride when I disagree.  We will head

back for the dock with enough bass, sunfish and lake trout

for dinner - three or four for his mother and a few extra to put

in the locker we rent in the town freezer above the bus depot.


Fredrick Zydek is the author of eight collections of poetry.  T’Kopechuck: the Buckley Poems is forthcoming from Winthrop Press later this year.  Formerly a professor of creative writing and theology at the University of Nebraska and later at the College of Saint Mary, he is now a gentleman farmer when he isn’t writing.  He is the editor for Lone Willow Press. His work has appeared in The Antioch Review, Cimmaron Review, The Hollins Critic, New England Review, Nimrod, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Yankee, and others.  He is the recipient of the Hart Crane Poetry Award, the Sarah Foley O'Loughlen Literary Award and others.