Ben Paynter

(Midwest)

it was my uncle soul sifting


it was my uncle soul
sifting in a leaned back
all the way chair down
by the old family lake
taking trout we spent
all day chasing through
reeds and lilies, dodging
loons and other birds
trying to outmaneuver
them in their own home
it was my uncle soul
sifting, lifting trout
entrails, rinsing off
blood and fish and dirt
in the cold lake water
telling me it used to
be a game of his, how
many fish he could trick
before the sun set.
it was my uncle soul
sifting, telling me his
favorite night was years
ago and how he had
only caught one lone
rainbow and was
sitting there, gutting
the heart out listening
to the radio the night
Roy Eldridge died.
it was my uncle soul
sifting, saying he forgot
how many fish he caught
just sat there listening
to old dead Roy play
while the fish cooked
over his burnt coal fire
it was the only way he
knew how to say
goodbye he said, and
tonight it’s me out
there soul sifting, lifting
bits of crumbled dirt and
dust, feeling a part of me
is out there still, the
big blue welling up
inside you, the hole
gone and filled up
with sky.

Submitted: Thursday, March 04, 2010

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