Archive for April, 2010

Railroad Bridge, Rice Lake, Wisconsin

Posted in My Poems on April 23, 2010 by paulscotaugust

Railroad Bridge, Rice Lake, Wisconsin

Summer, late afternoon. Say, a Thursday. A man stands
on the far end of the railroad bridge, dangles his pole
over the Red Cedar River, hopes to catch his dinner,
a bass the size of a newborn son. Next to his scuffed
boot, a tackle box: lures, bobbers, pint of Old Grand Dad.
He winds up, casts, reels back, casts again. His line snaps
in the mossy air, the wooden lure hitting the water in vain.
Even the fish are trying to swim away from this town.
His tired Buick sits crooked on the edge of the curved spur
leading to the laminate plant up river that laid him off
last fall. The tracks that cross the bridge are amputated.
From there, a bike trail grows north. Nothing else does.
The orphaned depot waits for an arriving passenger train,
but this town is built for departure. And the man stays,
searches his house late at night for what he once had,
walks past the unused nursery, touches his wife’s photo
on the mantle, shaves, showers and studies the want ads
for something else entirely, but having no less disappeared.

Paul Scot August

Published in Passages North, Volume 31.1 – Winter/Spring 2010

Hear it read here by Nic Sebastian on Whale Sound!