Railway Trestle
by Dan Murphy

Dust tangled in
curls of cresol fumes,
sun’s strength sparking
off rails that lit up the path
to the first railway trestle.
Where fish gathered in the run
and motorboats passed under,
their engine roar delivering
lessons on the Doppler effect;
a concept we hadn’t yet learned
in general science class.

From atop the bridge rail
our lines reeled quickly
out of the water avoiding
the hooking of an ear
or the tearing out of an eye ball
from its socket; our curiosity
inspecting the ordered contents
of the passing motorboats below.

A can of soda pop
and bologna sandwiches
and legs dangling out
over the world,
our minnows resting in the run,
their perforated bucket
keeping them frisky
and safe from running away.

Leaving this water behind
and the minnows high and dry
for easy picking by the occasional Grey Jay,
marked the end of those fishing days.
My tattered jacket and pocket knife,
employed for cutting green sticks
to hang fish on, now stored
in a cardboard apple box;
my sneakers having long outgrown
the memory of those summer walks
to the first railway trestle
with a store bought fishing pole
holding my hand.

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