February twenty-fifth,
early morning,
and the pond is iced.
Rainbow trout, I think,
sprinting to the house,
puffing breath,
but nobody cares except Peter,
my little brother,
so I walk to the glass studio
to watch Dad work his blowpipe,
play Bass Pro Shop on Xbox,
and wait for him to join me.
Today is my birthday.

The afternoon drifts away on Lake Erie,
floating on my pixilated skiff,
cast after sizzling cast,
water lapping aluminum.
I bait my medium heavy spinning combo one more time
and peer over starboard
for largemouth: Micropterus salmoides,
the narrator says,
cold-blooded aquatic vertebrates.
The sun sinks into the studio window
and the screen bursts into a fiery glare.
Dad dips into the furnace crucible,
does not wince in the heat,
and finishes the transparent bowl
with a snip of his shear
as Claire, our sister, arrives to say,
Dinner’s ready.
Then: Where’s Peter?
Her eyes nibble the back of my neck.
He came to fish with you an hour ago.

The vessel shatters like ice,
crystal slivers stinging my ankles,
Dad surging through the door;
behind the studio
a lone set of prints
walks to a dark hole in
the middle of the pond.
He breaks the ice near shore,
dives in the water and –
C’mon! Food’s getting cold,
Mom calls from the house,
her voice an apparition
swimming through the trees.


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