Carl Leggo


last summer 

Skipper, Dave, and I hiked

through patches of alders

like barbed wire,

meandered across a marsh

around pitcher plants

filled with last night's rain

to Crescent Pond as we often did 

when I was a boy, 

much like old times, 

since some things don't change,

not much anyway

and in an August morning,

with few trout but more than enough

mosquitoes, and a breeze

that held the sun lightly 

we recalled how thirty-five years ago 

Dave filled in for Skipper (his foot in a cast 

after falling off the roof of the mill),

and filled his Rambler with me,

my brother, Cec, Terry, and Jean-Guy 

from East Angus, outside Sherbrooke, 

outside Montreal, on an exchange visit 

to get to know Newfoundlanders 

and knit better relations 

between French and English Canadians

(I don't think the exchange worked)

and we fished all day in the pond 

like an arc of the moon

where trout grow lunatic and fat

since nobody can find them


and now I've returned

to Crescent Pond with Skipper and Dave,

in their mid-seventies, friends almost

all their lives, with only a few words spoken,

still trout fishing in the pond

that seems the same

and I haven't thought about Jean-Guy

for years, don't seem to recall much

in the busyness of this life 

that knows little constancy

and we don't catch many trout,

but I taste the rhythms of casting a line 

akin to writing a poem,

and I grow still, present for a while

but now spinning in winter, faraway,

Carrie calls with more bad news, 

Dave might have cancer,

and I must remember all the hikes

to Crescent Pond, want fullness

of memory and hope,

need to fill my lungs 

with airsome memories

like the full moon's breath,

need to remind Dave and Skipper, 

the trout are still waiting 

just below the surface,

always both transparent and opaque