William Ford: "Fisherman"




                        Hansville, Washington


He sets up his table by the roadside

and sells them off, salmon

caught that morning—

on a good day two or three kings,

more than anyone should have

if we go by the regulations.


Because he never talks to us

we talk of him, over pie and coffee,

as though he’d been the smart one

to quit the office if and when he did

or had had it with his wife and kids

or was an alien with bad papers.


By the end of October the Sound

has the skin of many dead things

and the great winds pick up

carving new beach out of stone.

His boat is the last one beached,

its bottom black with sea life.


All winter long he works on it,

the engine and drive train first,

then every screw and joint

as though he’d try, next season,

the high cold swells of the Bering,

where they fish all night in the sun.



William Ford's work has appeared recently in Brilliant Corners, Southern Humanities Review, and Verse Wisconsin.