I turned to look over my shoulder · Richard D. Houff

Standing by the shore
you notice a rail near the reeds

He isn’t skittish with your presence
and trust is such a good thing

A group of snipes flush from
the bank in search of fresh snails

When your line tightens
and the bobber disappears

You put some shoulder
to the rod

And lift a fat bluegill
from the water

Unhooked and in the bucket;
the waiting is over

The bite is steady, and there
will be enough for dinner

You smile and light your pipe,
focusing on the solitude

And you just want to hold the moment,
to soak up all that space

You want to take it with you,
without letting go

And in this leave-taking,
there are no words

The murderous streets and city
await your return


Richard D. Houff lives and writes out of St. Paul, Minnesota. He edited Heeltap Magazine and Pariah Press from 1986 to 2010. He has had poetry and prose published in Academic and Arts Review, Brooklyn Review, Chiron Review, Louisiana Review, Midwest Quarterly, Nixes Mate Review, North American Review, Rattle, and many other fine magazines. His most recent collections are Night Watch and Other Hometown Favorites, (Black Cat Moon Press), The Wonderful Farm and Other Gone Poems, (Flutter Press), and Adventures In Space and Other Selected Casualties, (Alien Buddha Press).