A modern sonnet for my Grandpa, ‘Opa’ (Allan Ronald Dabelstein), who died a normal death. Thank you for teaching me to fish.
Do you confuse between what’s wrong and right?
I did first when I was eight and a half:
Opa’s dingy through the great lake did part
water into two as the outboard knifed,
Cut through deep blue with threaded prawns on spikes;
Scrubbed with lemon our fingers in the dark
of sand and the stench of bait in the yard —
stuck under cuticles into the night.
Snared fish writhed and flipped sharing in a fit
And I said sorry for fearing to pull
from twitching lips the bloodied hooks they’d bit,
And he, despite the chemo ate ‘til full
Before turning on his stool to posit:
‘Don’t say sorry, you’re too young to be cruel.’