Issue > Poetry
David Faldet

David Faldet

David Faldet’s poetry has been published in such journals as Midwest Quarterly, The 2River View, Ekphrasis, Saw Palm and Arion. He lives and teaches in Decorah, Iowa.

Northerns

On Christmas Eve the kitchen
t.v. is tuned to a wildlife show—
lions sinking teeth into a zebra.
In the next room my Minnesota uncle says:
"a 78 pound muskie!  It was so dark
in the fishing tent, he thought it was a northern.
They hauled him in and fined him." It's a story
he'll tell again. Three uncles there, each
likes the thought of going out for pike.

They talk fish from the front edge of their chairs.
For the first it's a history dimmed by alcohol,
save for the sharp memory of a muskie that took
two hands to hold up for the camera.
For the Iowa two it's—last summer
and next—weights and colors of lures,
skunked and wet days, or a limit in two hours
of walleyes and northerns up near Canada.

I'm young. I've never caught a pike,
but trailed my finger once in the boat's wake;
a northern arcing upwards broke the water,
needle teeth yawning at empty sky,
missing the meal of my hand by inches.

After the ham and riced potatoes,
the relishes, vegetables, and pies,
after trading strained words about a year
that's not too different from the rest,
those three sit in the softer chairs and recollect
the water: the way the light was on it,
and its depth, where the northerns lay.

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