Patricia Wallace Jones

Father’s Day

by Marybeth Rua-Larsen

He woke her when the sun flexed at her window,
let her wear jack-o-lantern socks in June
and waved away the hair brush — Fish by noon
or don’t bother
is the wisdom, trout go
too deep in heat. He squints, sees a rerun
of himself as she twists two skinny worms
around the hook, then scouts for shade, confirms
she’ll reel them in as well as any son.

She turns to rinse her fingertips and squats
at pond’s edge, finds a school of minnows dead —
floating in a bed of foam. She can’t ignore
them, drags her dirty sleeves through tears and blots
her face. He sighs and rubs her tangled head,
then points to cygnets swimming far from shore.

Marybeth Rua-Larsen has work forthcoming or recently published in Measure, Lucid Rhythms, and KaleidowhirlKaleidowhirl nominated her poem, “For the Plain Girls,” for a Pushcart Prize. She lives on the South Coast of Massachusetts.