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April 2013, vol 9, no 1

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Glenn Coats

The Snap of a Line

My grandfather bends over the bow; drops a heavy sinker and baited hook down to the bottom of the sea, then lifts his thick rod up and down up and down and brings the still bait to life. My father drifts in an aluminum boat across man-made lakes, deep water to shallow, as he drags live minnows through layers of cool in search of trout. My son waits for the high waters of spring to settle down then crosses islands on the river to where catfish are breaking the surface in the dark. He tosses plugs and jerks them like frogs until a big cat gets annoyed enough to strike at them. I wade into skinny streams and march upstream casting flies near sunken timbers and the swirls beside rocks. None of us can be still. Our fishing is all movement and we are like hammers that cannot stop ringing.

Today, it is warm for late November. My grandsons move through thickets beside the lake looking for narrow beaches or rocks to stand on. They cast striped bobbers out on the water and the wind carries them back to shore. The boys are beside the dock then on the dock, sitting, standing, leaning, always moving. It is inside them like dark hair dark eyes—a need to move on, a restlessness, and they will never be anchored in one spot.

autumn dusk
the flap
of wet wings

all of the autumns—
places where thoughts
come to rest