Martha Strom

A Half Thought

“It’s kind of freaky, having God watch you every second.”
                                                                             -Griffin Strom, age 9
Peach fish dangle and fall,
Dangle and fall.
At five night descends,
Like a great garage door
Closing over playtime.
Dad’s fingers were squat
But not bold.
When Willy’s hand quivered
On the frets of his viola,
I saw Dad fiddling
With his fishing lures,
Adjusting hooks and plastic bodies,
Sliding each one
Into its proper green home
In the tackle box.
Today I sit fishing
For an image or a rhyme.
Try atheism; try a Hail Mary.
Maybe today someone will read
My poem and call me smartass.
“Be patient,” Dad would say.
“Just sit still.”
I am greedy for those structures.
Above them a sky appears;
Below them a river.
I like to hide
Inside an image,
A rhyme, or a word.
There I cannot be seen,
But there I see myself,
What it is I want to say.
I hid behind Dad’s tackle box
In the garage well into the night.
I waited until he found me.
I was never punished for hiding.
In the dark I learned my name.