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.



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.


    1. 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.


  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

    1. 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?


  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

    1. 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…


  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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