Two Truths About Fishing

A fisherman, swathed in a poncho,
trolls the water’s edge. Morning rain
pocks the water, splatters
off the gunnels, the ballcap,
the fiberglass. The boat
moves quietly, barely creasing
the surface of the lake. Overhead
the limbs of oaks, usually stretched
skyward, now, appear hooded,
bent like the fisherman who plumbs
the depths. Part of the truth he fishes
is as simple as a striking bass, the right
bait in the right spot. The other truth,
is for quieter moments, that point
beyond the hook
which drops deeper still.

Al Ortolani’s poetry has appeared in journals such as Rattle, Prairie Schooner, and Chiron Review. His newest collection, On the Chicopee Spur, was released from New York Quarterly Books in 2018. How Wally Lost His Thumb and the Boy Scouts Became Cannibals also appeared from Spartan Press the same year. A previous collection, Ghost Sign, co-authored with J. T. Knoll, Adam Jameson, and Melissa Fite Johnson, was selected as a Kansas Notable Book for 2017. Ortolani is the Manuscript Editor for Woodley Press in Topeka, Kansas, and has directed a memoir writing project for Vietnam veterans across Kansas in association with the Library of Congress and Humanities Kansas. He is the recent recipient of the Rattle Chapbook Award for 2019. He currently lives in the Kansas City area.

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2 Responses to Two Truths About Fishing

  1. Jeff says:

    The best use of enjambment I’ve seen in a long time — lovely!

  2. Barry A. Yeoman says:

    Hey Al, what a tremendous poem, hooked me, barbed, and deep! you wrote my bass fishing poem! And much better than I ever could have imagined.

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