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.