by Bryan Sisk



I’m reading a book of poetry

by Robert Frost,

an American master.

I can smell the dirt and

hear the rustle of trees

as I flip through the leaves.

I found the book at a library sale,

fifty cents.


On the inside cover is an inscription

scrawled in crooked adolescent script

by someone making the jump

from print to cursive,

pencil to pen.


“To Dad,

      my poetic



I never bought my dad

books of poetry.

Every holiday it was

fishing lures and underwear.

These gifts went a long way

on father-son fishing trips.

Lures taught me to fish and

sometimes brought dinner.

Underwear served its

obvious purpose,

but also served as

a coffee filter in desperation.

With these simple gifts,

my dad led me through

the rites of passage

into my own manhood.


I hope my turn comes

to lead a son of my own

through his adolescence.

Teaching him to risk losing a lure

for the perfect cast,

and to portage

when the river runs dry.


And I hope he gives me gifts

of fishing lures, underwear

and poetry.

One can lead a happy life

with these simple gifts.



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