Blue Collar Baptism

In the back of the chevy
rods and reels
and hooks and lines
lay in the sun through
the long work-week
waiting like me –
sweaty captives of anxiety

but come friday nights
the boys and I
are out under the stars
where the river ripples
and the coyotes holler
across the cool blue
of the water

the boys are young still
with plenty of time yet
for serious fishing
for now, they deliberate
hours over which bait
which lure, which weight

yes – plenty of time
here at the water’s edge
listening to
the lap of the waves
the cry of the hoot owls
the croaking of frogs
and the ecstatic yipping of wild dogs

the yank of the line
is like a tug at my heart-string
as the boys struggle
with the big black-mouth bass
that we weigh and measure
and return to the water
just as I will free them
when they are ready

but the water will wait
will still run strong
when I come again
with grandsons on my knee
and watch as they
dip their pudgy toes in the water
and giggle at the minnow
and I, their grandfather,
will become young again
baptized by the river

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