Standing in the Chattahoochee where you learned to lure trout, to lure sunfish, to cast and re-cast and release, I send a wriggler overhead while you crouch on granite. You are twelve now, on the cusp, and today your rod stays folded in the tackle box while you pick at a great mess of snarled line, testament to our scurried lives. Unloop, tug, yank—freeing one knot just tightens the rest. I bite back a snap: you’re wasting time, just cut the line stayed by last night’s door slam. Instead, I watch you, firstborn child, jut of knees and elbows, your quick hands and hazel gaze mirrored in the river. Minutes tick, mosquitos prick, cold floods my gaiters and my line drifts down and oh! now your fingers fly, you stretch your arms wide, and I bubble and whoop and scare the fish as you fling the line free, up and up.
Amy Karon's poetry has appeared in PANK Magazine, Eastern Iowa Review, Cricket Magazine, Zoetic Press/Nonbinary Review, and elsewhere. She lives in rural southwestern Washington with her spouse and seven mischievous ducks.