local_library when the man taught his grandson

by Lester Melton

Published in Issue No. 228 ~ May, 2016

when the man taught his grandson

about fish and oceans he lumbered

ahead onto the wood planked pier

that smelled like dead fish and baited hooks


with hands full he carried tackle and gear

to a bench that favored tide and season

behind a railing notched to lean angler rods

during cigarettes and conversations


his carpenter hands work clothes

heavy shoulders and bowed back

made him a rock solid shield

to the grandchild who carried his cooler


with the plywood cover carved

to serve as cutting board for sliced bait

after the foam lid flew free one day

cartwheeling end over end into the surf


because grandchildren often fly seaward

he never wasted his containers or stories

knowing family myths of farms roots and soil

fashion vital heads on useful vessels.


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Lester Melton lives and writes in Oregon.