This week’s poem was written from a finger of land along Maquoit Bay, south of Brunswick. The speaker, fishing, thinks of his father, and, for a second, becomes his father, and the fish, and any person — all of us swimming “the same current.” When I read a line like this, I know I’m in a poem: “These baits are frail hope / that one dark mouth will take the hook, / end up caught in a cold bucket / of lost talk.

Andrew C. Gottlieb lives and writes in Irvine, California, and his work has appeared in many journals including Arts & Letters, Denver Quarterly, Ecotone, Orion, and Poetry Northwest. His chapbook, “Flow Variations,” was published by Finishing Line Press in 2017.

On Mere Point

By Andrew C. Gottlieb

Casting off the dock for stripers

I think of my father’s stories—

fishing for walleye at Sioux Lookout.

The day a snapper ate his catch,

strung and struggling below the pier.

My hands feel for the telltale take,

and I have to laugh. How two men

tooled of the same line

can argue themselves to silence,

watch reels unravel in a flickering tangle.

My fly rides from one phase

of the moon to the other side

of the tide. These baits are frail hope

that one dark mouth will take the hook,

end up caught in a cold bucket

of lost talk. Gravity sinks barbs below

the surface. As if the whole journey

was about the tug of men

and teeth to the trophy end,

as if—standing on this Maine

spit—it was only about one strung word

we could put our fingers to

and simply win with the crimp

of a hissing drag. As if we don’t swim

the same current: rod-stiff—muscles

tense and failing—until that glossy pose,

the wide stilled eye.

Gibson Fay-LeBlanc is poet who lives in Portland. Deep Water: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2001 Andrew C. Gottlieb. It appeared originally in the Crab Creek Review and appears here by permission of the author. Deep Water: Maine Poems will be accepting submissions during the month of August. For more information, visit

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