As it’s Father’s Day, I wanted to repost this.
Me and dad sometimes fished a murky stretch of the Brant,
marshalled between levées of belly-high grass and nettles.
Unless you’d pulled one out yourself, you’d never know
the river hid writhing knots of eels in its catshit-coloured waters,
that barely moved as they searched the edges of the fen for
a gradient to follow, still forty pancake miles away from the sea.
It was always hot. Everything was a shade of green, yellow or blue,
and the man at the Royal Oak would swap a netful of live ropes,
with their angry, pinprick eyes, for beer, and a lemonade for the lad.
first published in Message in a Bottle, issue 30, 2016