He Says Nothing, Does Everything
by Chris Wood

Shaken awake at 4 am, I dress in the dark,
down the glass of orange juice on the kitchen table,
and stomp into my rubber boots at the back door.
Pigtails lopsided, I crawl into the front seat.
Dad latches the boat to the truck.

Diesel engine vibrating, we sit at a red light,
his tanned face illuminated by the dashboard
and mine looking out the passenger's side window.
Solitary figures under streetlights
fading in the early dawn.

Sunlight cracks the horizon,
flashes between trees
as we zig zag the rolling hills
frosted in last night's dew,
passing hay bales and red angus,
their breath warming the air.

The lake—still, wisps of fog
hovering the surface, cow lilies
hugging the edge. I spot
a turtle on a flat rock
partially hidden in the bulrushes
and blue flag irises. Frogs croak
in protest as the trailer eases
backwards, tires displacing the gravel
that disappears into the water.

Our fishing boat ripples the quiet cove,
trolling motor humming toward a good spot.
He chases a minnow with his fingers,
pins one to my hook and tosses the bait
into the water. I watch the cork
as Dad hands me hot chocolate,
straightens my pigtails,
and zips my coat to my chin.


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