The Black Bass

My hand became my father's hand 
that day, 
for a second or two, as I lifted the fish, and I could feel his loneliness, 
my father's, like mine,

a horse in a stall spooked by guttering candles, 
the popping and black smoke, the quivering flanks.

And if a horse, in its loneliness, couldn't manage 
to speak, what difference did it make? 
What could he say? Tell a flickering candle Burn true?

Then I thought of my mother, standing in a field with flames 
in her hair. She was surrounded by deer, statues
in a circle around her.

Reprinted from Arrow Pointing North with the permission of Four Way Books. Copyright © 2002 by David Dodd Lee. All rights reserved.