River Report

Day one:

Got a bite

but lost the fish.

Day two:

Mentally focused — 

What to do

When you get a hit?

Avoid panic 

when the sudden, thrilling

tug on the line comes.

Prepared:

Gear set up in advance;

Flies carefully chosen.

Out again:

Not a nibble;

No chance to 

break through.

Is it just dumb luck,

Or must I live with

not being good  

at something I love?

As the fog lifts,

The sunlight on the river

Warms your back

and plays on the water.

Isn’t that enough?

September 15, 2021

HUGGING WANDA

(Here’s a timely one by Alice Rydel)

Sick of the anniversary

But can’t stop watching TV

Where were you? Where was I?

Hugging Wanda.

Nine Eleven

Nurses called back to work

The hospital needs to prepare

I hear her screaming on the phone

And rush out to get her


“My daughter! My daughter!”


When I tell the story

My arms contort

Around her invisible body

Her head is on my shoulder 


We go back to the hospital

In the ER a stretcher holds a solid white statue

Then a dark hole opens

Gasping for air


Chairs ripped out of the auditorium

To make room for beds

Never filled


Waiting for news

About Wanda’s daughter

I hear cheering and laughter

But my colleague looks sick


“Her daughter left a voicemail.

Everyone cheered.

I couldn’t tell her the rest of the message.”


Still hugging Wanda