Yesterday something delivered a short vision of what I thought the world was like thirty years ago; it hit me like that pain in your side the doctor said was nothing.

For two days now there’s been a fisherman in the middle of the river, standing like an island there on such a day like today with all the rain and sad skies.

I wouldn’t think there would be any fish in the river right now anyway but there he is, aiming his pole precisely toward a hole in the water

as if there were a guaranteed return if only he could hit that hole. I used to like fishing myself, not that I ever did it, but I liked watching the geometry of the line just before it hit the water,

waiting for the dumb fish to commit to swallowing the fake thrashing bug. I used to think fishing must be something good, a place you could bring your kids,

a memory you could casually fold in your pocket and discover years later when you pull that old pair of pants out of the closet and stuff your hands inside searching for forgotten prizes.

Now it’s just one more hollow challenge, something you do because you told yourself you would, you’d get up this morning, you’d get up and wade knee-deep in some river, no matter what.

Casey Killingsworth has work in The American Journal of Poetry, Kimera, Spindrift, Rain, Slightly West, and other journals. His book of poems, A Handbook for Water, was published by Cranberry Press in 1995. He also has a book on the poetry of Langston Hughes, The Black and Blue Collar Blues (VDM, 2008). Casey has a Master’s degree from Reed College.

See more of Casey's work in 8.1