Angling for a Late Summer Harvest

In the photo from the paper
fathers and sons are angling
from the banks of the river
that shrugs past the city,
near the railroad bridge,
the trains rattling
drinking glasses to toast
the journey as they descend
deep into the tunnels
buried under Manhattan.

Their lures sink below
into the dark swirling waters
where my father once rode
the whirlpools under a bridge
called the Hell Gate,
a corruption of the Dutch.
He would ride down to
the silver roots until released
by the current then float up
to the flashing surface
like a soda bottle.

The old men wait
for the gentle nudge
from the line, stirring
them out of memory
like a sudden gust of wind.
Their sons watch the eddies
for some response, a sound
much like words.

The evening will bring
the hidden moon.
As they gather their gear
the men will gaze once more
upon the water’s cadences,
numerous flecks of light
dancing along the surface.

In memory of my father (1914-1984)

Stephen Ruffus is originally from New York City and currently resides in Salt Lake City. He has studied at Colorado State University and the University of California at Irvine. His work has appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review, The American Journal of Poetry, Quarterly West, and Western Humanities Review. Also, two of his poems will appear in the Spring 2021 issue of Hotel Amerika.

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