Dad’s Fishing Vest

A brave face

I’m trying

But it’s no use.

It’s not a sappy nostalgia fueling these tears.

Your fishing vest in my living room

Draped carefully over a chair,

All intact 

Worn, but certainly not through, 

Plenty of good life still in it 

– Flies still strategically placed –

– Pockets holding necessaries –

– Tools dangling expectantly –

It looks so beautifully brave

So useful

So ready…

And so empty.

I’m angry

And I feel silly

Over the frustration

Of you-in-a-body-that-can’t-fly-fish

That you won’t wear that vest again

For all your life that’s no longer in it.

This’d be the perfect moment

To slap on a well-meaning

Blessings-in-dark-places attempt-at antidote

– And I’ll get to that –

‘Cause that’s real and true too.

But right now,

Your fishing vest just looks all wrong

Without you in it.

 

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12 thoughts on “Dad’s Fishing Vest

  1. I know that vest, and I bet most of the pockets were un-ziped….
    After a week spent Fly Fishing, it was hard to read this.

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    • Ohmyword, Reg. The pockets are totally unzipped. It struck me so much that I couldn’t bring myself to zip ’em. I love that you knew that.

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  2. I don’t want to turn this into facebook, but I spent the better part of 40 years looking at him in a fishing vest, (scary to think it has been that long) and he NEVER had them zipped. I will tell you a story about that some time 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I continue to hold onto the hope that our collective tears were cathartic. I’m grateful to hear you were moved by it; it seems fitting as a response as I certainly was when I wrote it. Grateful for things to be a little transparent, y’know?

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  3. Great eulogy from the daughter of a fisherman from a fisherman of a daughter who will be angry with loss when one day her own father won’t fill the vest that is on her living room chair . . . Your poem moved me deeply . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you ever so much; both for your willingness to read and respond and also to be in solidarity with me by speaking to your being moved. I’m very grateful…

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  4. Dear Amy, My heart goes out to you. Thank you for this poignant and painterly work, so evocative and full of raw, honest emotion. I don’t know your particular circumstances, but your poem resonated deeply with me, suggesting a different vest that will no longer be filled with a beloved. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, your gracious words are like music to me! Thank you so much for your kindness in taking the time to read and respond. I am so sorry for your experience by which you understand mine, but there is a certain sweetness too, to our commonality. Though his vest – just hanging there – triggered something deep and hard in me, it was a treasure too: such missing, such relationship reminding me of such missing… Y’know? In other words, I guess we ought to be grateful to feel so deeply for another. Thanks again for stopping by. I have enjoyed a number of your posts; they are enlivening! Of the spurring on sort! Keep up the good work! (Why I feel funny about this long response I don’t know, but I hope you don’t. 🙂

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