Slabs of Hope

Welcome to 2010: Name your current. Name your favorite river. Name your perseverance.
For everyone out January 1st. Cheers.


Mike blacked out, wakes up.
Smells like whiskey before sunrise,
stands in his smoky kitchen frying up
bacon, eggs, and hash browns.

The morning is a hot black skillet.
Snow’s been rained on all night.
Tires spit red cinders into oncoming traffic.
Traffic spits cinders right back.

Between sharp cracks, we talk
about our lives: like rivers
we keep moving but never fill.

When we finally park, slush six inches deep
slides each step. Drop tailgate, unwrap tinfoil,
dig into breakfast sandwiches.

Even the first of January we can’t help but stand
in intermittent sun, sleet, and drizzle
crushing cress beneath footsteps.

Midday Mike walks back to his truck.
Surrounded by anglers, picks a winter caddis
off the snow, shows someone and they scoff.

Sometimes what matters most slips.

All day long Mike and I fish two different set-ups.
One with nymphs, who cares what kind,
the other with six inch segmented streamers.

Sometimes it takes three hooks to catch hold.

Drive home Mike talks about times barreling back,
trying to avoid going over sleep’s great falls.

I can’t help but think about hangovers,
waking up tomorrow with no river to go fishing on
and Mike back at work. Fight or flight:

three hundred and sixty four days left
to gather slabs of hope.


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